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Brexit: doctors’ duty is to inform patients

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 05 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5382

Re: Brexit: doctors’ duty is to inform patients. My response to Prof Dodge

Dear Prof Dodge

Your response implies that the Brexit mess is to blame for the mess in which we, the patients, are floundering.

Yes, the inhospitable, ungracious, ungrateful noises made by many Brexiteers naturally put off many EC citizens and their families. I have not heard a word of apology from any minister.

But, let us look back. For the last forty years or so, management has tried to spend less and less on direct clinical services. The total expenditure may have increased. But has the increase been commensurate with the increasing clinical work-load.?

The perpetual (DIS)organisations, new data systems, glorified as patient management systems cost money as well as human fatigue.

The fact that the GPs are good does not get rid of the problem that they are unable to see the patient for up to a fortnight. You have to make do with primary health care assistants. True the DoH guidance is that suspected cancer cases must be referred to the hospital consultant within a fortnight. But it is a matter of commonsense that IF you cannot be seen by a GP, in less than ten days, then the referral to a hospital consultant may take 24 days.

Of course the patient or his kin may fork out money for a Harley Street consultation. They will not make a complaint. It is bad form. The Parliament will never know how far the skeletal NHS is being baled out by such Non-NHS treatment.

Do we need more doctors, more consultants? I do not know. When the public gets used to the idea that a health care assistant is all that is needed, that consultants and GPs are superfluous, that there is a time to be born and a time to die, it may well decide that the NHS is a waste of money.

Let us move to Albania.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 September 2019
JK Anand
Retired doctor
Free spirit
Peterborough, England