Andrew Lansley has made the job of health secretary look pretty easy so far, but the tough work and awkward questions are still to come, says Pulse editor Richard Hoey
It must have been a strange introduction to his new department.
Supposedly health secretary Andrew Lansley didn’t waste much time in telling the civil servants gathered around him that he planned cuts of up to a third in management costs – their jobs among them.
But if Mr Lansley has left the average NHS manager squirming, and perhaps leafing through the job pages or dreaming of a new career, the response from GPs to his appointment has been rather different.
It’s not a honeymoon as such – GPs aren’t terribly romantic when it comes to politicians – more like the cautious, mature, but warm, glow of mutual understanding.
It’s early days, and perhaps one of the reasons Mr Lansley has had such a positive reaction from GPs so far is that the questions he has chosen to answer are those with obvious answers.
Were polyclinics a good idea? Erm, nope.
Does it make sense to push ahead with mass closures of hospital departments without consulting with GPs to make sure primary care is equipped to take on the new work? Don’t be daft.
Is it sensible that management costs have been allowed to spiral by 25% in two years just as the NHS should have been tightening its belt? What do you think?
There will be trickier questions ahead, but one encouraging sign is that the health secretary seems ready to answer them.
His office has made it clear he is keen to engage with general practice – and indeed has already suggested an interview with Pulse.
Here’s your chance then… what questions would you like to put to the Secretary of State?
Stick them in the comment box below. And don’t let the warm glow turn you all mushy. Make them tough.
Richard Hoey, Pulse editor