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Clinician led management can fix the NHS

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 16 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1077
  1. David Flook, consultant general surgeon, The Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham
  1. 1

Senior medical professionals are often branded as opponents of reform (BMJ 2006;332:914). We are condemned for believing that resources should be concentrated on frontline staff, rather than big IT systems, independent treatment centres, and the services of management consultants.

I am not an opponent of reform, nor are most medical personnel. I would support many changes, including (despite a personal loathing of computers) better IT systems, but I do not trust our incompetent government to introduce them. I do, however, oppose the cynical, superficial reforms through which politicians have exploited the NHS. The fraudulent claims for these reforms are many and varied.

We now frequently hear health ministers contemplating the recent modest fall in cancer mortality and, subtly and dishonestly, insinuating that initiatives such as the “two week wait rule” have contributed to this. In fact, fast track referral prioritises the worried well at the expense of the target population. Of the more than 300 such referrals I have received, …

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