Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations On The Contrary

Behold the Elderflower Revolution in healthcare

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1041
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor, BMJ
  1. tdelamothe{at}

After the king’s speech, the committee stages

To Downing Street, for a prime ministerial reception for “pathfinder” general practices. These are the shock troops for the reforms spelt out in the Health and Social Care Bill and to me they looked as scary as any other large group of general practitioners. After a day at the Department of Health the pathfinders weren’t that much clearer about what was expected of them. One was disconcerted to discover her every word being faithfully transcribed by department officials, as if she might hold the key to how it would all turn out.

Prime Minister David Cameron swept in and made an eve-of-Agincourt speech, beautifully crafted and delivered. You can read his actual words on the number 10 website ( although they sounded like:

  • We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:

  • For he today that sheds his blood with me

  • Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

  • This day shall gentle his condition;

  • And GPs in England now abed

  • Shall think themselves accursed they were not here. …

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