Views & Reviews Personal View

Does anyone understand the government’s plan for the NHS?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e399

Re: Does anyone understand the government’s plan for the NHS?

We read Professor McKee’s article on the digestibility of the governments Health Bill with interest (1). It compliments another article The BMJ ran on “Clinician Engagement” by Caroline White (2). Both articles show undertones of the clinician’s adversity to NHS policy making and NHS management.

If the NHS is our universe then the patient should be at the centre of it and everything we do. With this in mind we feel that medical management, “clinician engagement”, and policy making should be introduced to doctors right from the very start of medical education i.e. at medical school. This will equip students to better understand what happens right from Government policy making to Hospital Management and the implication this has ultimately to the patient.

Our concern is that this aspect of medical training is left too late; and by the time very senior doctors are working alongside management and policy makers they have already become too jaundiced about “the system”. Giving medical students the skills to understand and become involved in hospital management early on in their career is key.

Basic Medical Sciences, Physiology and Anatomy are core to medical education. However we wonder if there is much needed room for “Clinician Engagement” covering topics of Health Policy, Governance and Management. We feel that only if this practice is introduced very early in medical training; only then will future doctors have greater democracy, genuine interest and “engagement” in the future of our health service in order to better serve our patient.

1. Martin McKee; Who understands the Government’s plans for the NHS BMJ 2012;344;e399
2. Caroline White; Clinician “Engagement”; BMJ Careers 2012

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 January 2012
Roshani Patel
CT2 General Surgery
Aakash Pai - CT2 General Surgery, Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals
Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals
Wexham, Slough, Berkshire, SL2 4HL