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My answer to diabetes poser

The silly season is here again. No, it's not Christmas, or April Fools day. It's general election time once again. The Government is currently cunningly pretending that judgment day is not going to be May 5, despite an apparent vacuum in the Prime Minister's calendar for this period.

So why write about dull elections with foregone conclusions? Well, last week was bad on the home visit count, but it became much worse when driving from an irate relative and a rather taxi-shy individual, to the one patient that actually merited visiting. Every radio station I tried en route was gearing up for NHS bashing.

The first culprit was Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, who was canvassing 'Your experiences of the NHS'. The producer's intention was to create incisive debate on the relative merits of the political changes and financial expenditure within the NHS. Inevitably the phone-in deteriorated into ramblings of dissatisfied punters who had obviously not managed to get their fill of morning surgery. After an hour of moaning, and tales of pathological misfortune, with inevitable 'but the nurses were great', even Mr Vine had perfected the art of queue surfing.

Mentally, he too had stood up, and moved towards the door. An admirable performance for any GP, but a pointless contribution to the health debate.

Job for a triage manager?

Refreshed by a night's sleep, the heavens once again opened upon the visit book. Despite some insightful triage, a tour of the countryside beckoned. Chastened by the tinnitus-inducing discussion of yesterday, I switched to Radio 5 Live.

Did I get up-to-the-minute news, sport and comments? No, the dulcet tones of Victoria Derbyshire were inviting views on 'How the NHS had improved in your area'. Cunning, I thought. The researchers have confined themselves to positive changes only. Not only should this avoid the wrath from any spin doctor pit bulls, but should help us to really understand what the public want from changes in the NHS.

I tuned in, expecting at worst some critics of funding choices, or regional treatment priorities. But alas, no, the gainfully unemployed were queueing up, with their tales of missed diagnoses, treatment delays and unfortunate physiology. By the end of this debacle, Ms Derbyshire could have got a job as a triage manager sorting out the unbelievable from the misinformed.

Time to talk up the NHS

The public simply don't get it. PCTs, hospitals and GP surgeries are formulating local development plans, commissioning budgets and targeting chronic conditions the length and breadth of the land. Schemes for crow-barring patients out of A&E in four hours and into outpatients within 13 weeks are being polished and massaged.

If you took a focus group in most GP waiting rooms, most patients would have never heard of these targets.

Next time you hear a medical poll, phone up and set the record straight. The NHS provides just about the best NHS care in the world. Someone needs to stand up and say so ­ soapbox anyone?

Dr Andy Jones is a GP in Stamford, Lincolnshire

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