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Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Jeremy Hunt’s bizarre ideas show that he doesn’t understand general practice

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 01 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4368
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}

Name and shame; guilt and blame. The tools of Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Health are striking in their medieval glory. Hunt’s recent Daily Mail interview, on policy that his press office tells me is not yet official, revealed his plans that “family doctors found to be dismissing cancer symptoms as something less serious will be identified with a ‘red flag’ on an NHS website.”1

However—whoopee!—“surgeries will be ranked ‘green’ for cancer on the NHS choices website if they quickly refer patients to hospital when they show possible signs of cancer. But if they miss too many cancer cases—or if patients have to return numerous times before being sent for tests—they will be classed as ‘red.’”

This is what we have to contend with, colleagues: a health secretary who thinks …

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