Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


New BMA campaign calls on politicians to stop using NHS to score points

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 16 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h903

Rapid Response:

Re: New BMA campaign calls on politicians to stop using NHS to score points

I agree that promises of "£2bn more" and "see a doctor 7 days a week" and "5000 more..." ", 8,000 more doctors" are distractions from the main issue of providing an efficient primary and secondary care system best attuned to modern requirements.

But serious political debate is required regarding our NHS which, at this moment, is being dismantled insidiously under the guise of "quality".

Monitoring and reporting on "quality" of GP practice & hospital care - using dubious and unsubstantiated measures and methods and the threat of negative public reporting / fines - has led to an atmosphere of intimidation with few opportunities accessible to the front line service providers to call the number counters themselves to account. Instead they are being monitored into a standstill - under the threat of further cutbacks and closures.

Where is the positive support from NHS England for areas threatened by GP practice closures? How many new practices have been set up, while 100 practices have been put at risk of closure since August 2014?

Checks are good, but there are two sides to governance. What is going on behind the fine words is threatening our NHS and requires full disclosure. How many practices have closed, how many new ones opened, how are the regional NHS England teams supporting new practices... and can anyone explain the variable funding per patient that different GP practices are subject to?

I'm reminded of my son's Fantasy Football game, where football players who have worked their socks off throughout a game end up with minimum points while the ones who got lucky and put the ball in the net, or stood nearby at the right time to assist, are not only awarded for the goal itself, but also gather up all the bonus points...

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 February 2015
Lina Talbot
Internist, retired
East Sussex