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Viewpoint: What is the health secretary trying to achieve?

Dr Paul Charlson breaks down what the future will hold for GPs, according to Mr Hunt’s plans.

Jeremy Hunt knows there needs to be recognition of practices that provide excellent personal care and good access, and that this is not taken into account in the present

GP contract.

Patients want better access to GPs and a shift back to the family GP, so a move towards this is likely to be a popular policy. Mr Hunt of course recognises that GPs cannot work all night and then all day, but we have to take responsibility for the provision of 24-hour care.

Named GPs

The most vulnerable patients need the assurance that they have someone to go to if they need to in the middle of the night, and A&E is not appropriate. As a named GP, I would be happy to ensure that a proper plan is in place for this group and that is the thrust of the policy. 

The reduction of targets is in direct response to GPs who have said that there is too much bureaucracy and this is affecting patient care. Data gathering outside the consultation is tedious and often prevents GPs concentrating on softer but more important work.

Politically, it is the right thing to do, trusting GPs’ professionalism to do the best for patients without descending into a fireside chat with no hard data or outcome measures. Patients want quality time with their GP. The point is to make the most of GPs’ time and this represents the health secretary responding to GPs and patients in a positive way.

Dr Paul Charlson is a GP in east Yorkshire and head of policy for Conservative Health. He is writing in a personal capacity.

Readers' comments (20)

  • this is a "pitch", not an "in depth analysis"

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  • Thank you for your feedback. This is an article from our October issue, where we have described it as a 'viewpoint' as it is an opinion piece; it was incorrectly badged when uploaded onto our website. We have now rectified this mistake.

  • sorry, it said "analysis", not "in depth analysis"....., its still a "pitch" though

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  • Perhaps Dr Charlson could spell out in detail how one can reconcile responsibility for 24 hour care without having to work day and night.

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  • "patients want..." - that says it all

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  • Nhsfatcat

    'it is the right thing to do'

    I keep hearing this little phrase from politicians as if it makes it all ok.

    'We are going to chop your testicles off'.'
    'Why?'
    'Because it's the right thing to do'
    'Oh! That's alright then!'

    It's very simple policy makers- grow a pair of the above mentioned anatomical features and tell the public what they are going to get from the health service for the money they pay; stop lying and feeding them expectations that cannot be met. Start treating your staff with respect and realising their limitations. Stop worseining working conditions and rewards. Stop the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS, which will only cost the public more in the long run. (Water, Gas, Electricity, Trains and now Mail all profiting shareholders and costing us more, and still getting tax subsidy.)

    Why?
    Because it's the right thing to do.

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  • Conservative Policy - There is going to be no top down reorganisation of the NHS.........................................

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  • "Mr Hunt of course recognises [So he says but do you believe him?] that GPs cannot work all night and then all day, but we have to take responsibility for the provision of 24-hour care." What does he mean by "take responsibility?" - Perhaps hand pick the 111 operators? Or interview the night cover docs to make sure that they are caring enough? Or just carry the can if or when things go a bit pear shaped? Yes - I see - it is the latter. Thanks Jeremy.

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  • What purpose does this brain-lite article serve? The NHS does need a great deal of careful thought regarding necessary change, but this isn't it. perhaps Conservative Health could set out a more coherent and comprehensive vision?

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  • Bob Hodges

    The common theme, as perceived by the profession, is that our 'professionalism' demands that we spend eveymore time at work, but that to expect to be paid for this work would 'unprofessional'.

    It's ALL bullsit. Politicians are a bunch of venal feckwits, and I no longer care about Daily Mail reader's opinion of me.

    My sole aims in life are simply to finish each 12 hour+ working day with my dignity intact, not forget what my own children look like and to live long enough to reach retirement age.

    At the moment I feel like I'm failing on all three counts and will be taking stock in the new year. Politicians, selfish 'service users' and even the NHS, do not amount to a cause to die for.

    The ironic thing is that I'm one of stubborn fighter types and have never quit anything in my life. If I'm feeling like that, God knows how the others are feeling.

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  • To Bob

    Personal opinion - I agree most gp's grin and bear it.
    Probably not for too much longer though.
    If something can't go on for ever.....it stops.

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