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Cutting NHS staff by 10%? Easy - sack this lot...

Hang on. I’m not usually one to agree with management consultants, but their advice to cut the NHS workforce by 10% surely merits further consideration

Hang on. I'm not usually one to agree with management consultants, but their advice to cut the NHS workforce by 10% surely merits further consideration

In fact, I'd like to make some suggestions of my own about NHS staff who we could sack tomorrow and who wouldn't exactly be sorely missed - largely because we wouldn't notice, or care:

Health visitors: I have no idea what they do other than create unnecessary anxiety in young mothers by suggesting that an umbilical polyp might be a patent urachus or unnecessary work for me by misdiagnosing sticky eye as conjunctivitis and sending mother/child to my emergency clinic.

Counsellors: let's face it, they simply represent an expensive way of us being able to tell the emotionally incontinent to go away, but nicely. Like the rest of us, they're 70% water; unlike the rest of us, the other 30% is fluff. I believe they make good tea, though.

Physiotherapists who have bestowed on them the epithet ‘practitioner', as in ‘upper limb practitioner', ‘lower limb practitioner', ‘left middle finger practitioner' and so on: I want an orthopaedic opinion. So I refer the patient for one. But my referral is ‘managed' in the direction of some middle tier quasi-service, with the result that I get a letter from a jumped-up physio who makes some dumb-ass suggestions and who, nine months and no progress later, suggests I refer the patient for an orthopaedic opinion. Brilliant.

Noctors: as per physio-practitioners, only worse, because they're nurses.

Anyone from the PCT who writes letters describing their ‘vision' of primary care, who uses the word ‘robust' whenever they can't think of another adjective or who describes primary care as trying to create a ‘virtuous circle, with the patient in the middle': yes, really.

Macmillan nurses: I know they're regarded as agents of mercy, but, really, what do they do other than swan around looking important and saintly? When the shit hits the fan – that is, when the poor punter's doubly incontinent and the carers are at the end of their tether – what is needed is some hands-on help. Which is precisely what our Macmillan buddies don't provide. They're good at pontificating, but that's my job. If they rolled their sleeves up, I'd let them off. They don't, so I won't.

Social workers: OK, I realise that, strictly speaking, they don't work for the NHS, but I thought it unfair to leave them out.

Management consultants: what the hell do they know?

Copperfield: Sack 'em all Copperfield: Sack 'em all

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