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GPs go forth

Puppy dog Hancock still needs house training


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So what struck you most about our esteemed editor’s recent interview with the health secretary? Was it a ball of his irrepressible energy, perhaps launched by the cricket bat he keeps in his office? Or was it his puppy-like enthusiasm for the tasks ahead, which presumably explains the urine-soaked DoH carpets every time GP at Hand signs up a patient.

I know what struck Matt Hancock, though, when he first arrived in office, because he shared it with us: ‘In a hospital setting there are two nurses for every doctor. But in primary care there are two doctors for every nurse.’ Yeah, and in Westminster there is one brain for every two politicians.

This insight into the way the NHS is run is already in the frame for Most Fatuous Statement of the Year, and would be forgivable only if it had been barked out by an actual puppy.

Something else hit me, too. It was this sentence: ‘The target of 5,000 more GPs than the 2015 figure exists and we’re going to meet it. Clearly the timing will be slower than originally envisaged before my time….The workforce plan is on the basis of five years.’

No matter how many times you read this, and believe me, I’m on my 97th attempt, you can only conclude that these are sentences that have had all sense eviscerated before being stuffed with bullshit. So Mr Hancock is a syntaxidermist, though I do like his ‘before my time’ comment, because what he’s implying there is, look, whatever it is I’m trying to say, it’s nothing to do with me.

OK, so he’s just started, he has his own happy-clappy vision and we should give him a chance. But I really think that two essentials in a health secretary are an understanding of how the health service works and an ability to articulate a plan.

On this evidence, I’m already tempted to hurl his precious cricket bat away in frustration. He’d fetch it back, though.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex

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Readers' comments (10)

  • Cobblers

    I'd be more inclined to jam the cricket bat up his fundament. Trouble is I think he may enjoy it.

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  • David Banner

    Other than his ruinous obsession with IT as the answer to all our prayers (wrong, so so wrong), Hancock has exposed the hidden agenda of a nurse led Primary Care Service. Of course, this is already in full swing as older partners are starved out whilst younger GPs wouldn’t touch a partnership with a barge pole, giving practices no option other than to either collapse or employ more non-doctors.

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  • They are the same. Sadly as long as we have an NHS we will get this type of leader. No one wants the Health portfolio because it will fail.

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  • Only in politics do you get someone who is neither qualified nor has the work experience in the sector to run it. Therefore it is in the mess it is in.

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  • Truth Finder @4.07pm.

    You are such an elitist; don't you realise that selling fireplaces is an apt apprenticeship for becoming Defence Minister? Its because of people like you that glass ceilings exist, and social mobility is at an all-time low.(/s).

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  • I.e, you get the state to butt out. How? spreading the truth - the smaller the state, the better off everyone is.

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  • Bring back Jeremy, he wasn't all that bad.
    Sorry, I'm being delusional. Give us a job, I volunteer to be Health Secretary. I may make less of a mess of it, shouldn't be too difficult.

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  • What happened to the idea of having the health service run by a board who knew something about it rather than being in the pocket of private healthcare provides?

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  • Agee with IDGAF. Matt must have some merit, I guess!

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  • Too early to tell about Matt. However, Simon Stevens has started to grow on me...watching the Commons Health Select Committee I was shocked to find that he seemed to be talking sense and I had to turn it off as I started to like him. My CPN will be coming later..

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