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NHS England’s rescue plan is surprisingly intelligent

NHS England’s rescue plan is surprisingly intelligent

Dr Copperfield on the author behind NHS England’s documents

There I was sleep-reading the latest NHS England (NHSE) rescue package ‘Delivery plan for recovering urgent and emergency care services’, AKA how to tackle a conflagration with a water pistol when an odd feeling of familiarity came over me.

It was almost as though I had seen this kind of document before. Was it the familiar format of promised money (billions!), recycled ideas (Falls Clinics!!) or case studies (look, they did it, why can’t you!!!)?

Or was it the reflex tendency to think you can solve a problem by assigning it to, or containing it within, a hub – thus, Care Transfer Hubs to, uh, facilitate the transfer of care (see, solved?!)?

Or maybe it was the obligatory focus-group generated buzzword to give us laggards something to aspire to – in this case, ‘Frontrunners’, who will Show Us How It’s Done (ha, remember ‘Beacon Practices’, which only became so because we torched them all).

No. And it wasn’t even the almost complete absence of the mention of GPs, even though we know that’s where the Urgent and Emergency Care Fallout lands.

It was this: the realisation of how these documents are written. I can demonstrate, in very basic form, below.

Improving wordsConceptsMeaningless wordsNumberMedical things
Speed upPlanEfficient800Clinicians
ReformPartnershipsStep up/down50,000Mental

These are all words that genuinely appeared in the document. To generate, say, a three point plan to rescue urgent services, all you need to do is randomly combine words from each column, sprinkled with a few conjunctions etc.

Thus, I, Dr Tony Copperfield, resolve to:

  • Grow our capacity online to 800 hospitals
  • Speed up our ambition for 50,000 virtual clinicians
  • Expand our workforce to 111 mental step-ups

…and so on.

And that, basically, is how the AI chatbot ChatGPT generates text, right? Which explains everything. NHSE has for some time simply been using ChatGPT to churn out these superficially plausible yet consistently stupefying documents.

Nor will they stop there. By embracing this technology, they must have realised that advances in AI offer a way out of the workforce crisis by replacing real GPs with a virtual one: your consultation with a ChatGPTGP is just a mouse click away.

After all, we now know that ChatGPT is indistinguishable from the real thing. Indeed, did I even write this blog?

Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Benjamin Williams 3 February, 2023 7:36 am

You’ve actually cracked it. It’s so obvious now.

Simon Gilbert 3 February, 2023 5:24 pm

I asked ChatGPT:
“Imagine you work for NHS England. Please write a 150 word plan to address the urgent care crisis. If your plan includes increasing the numbers of staff or services please include numbers. ”

It replied:
“To address the urgent care crisis in NHS England, the following plan is proposed:

Increase the number of primary care services: This will help to alleviate the pressure on urgent care facilities. An additional 1000 primary care services will be established to provide care for patients with minor illnesses and injuries.

Staffing: The number of staff in urgent care facilities will be increased by 15% to ensure adequate staffing levels and improve patient care.

Improved triage systems: Triage systems in urgent care facilities will be improved to ensure that patients receive the right care in a timely manner. This will help to reduce waiting times and improve the overall patient experience.

Better use of technology: The use of technology, such as telemedicine, will be expanded to provide remote care to patients in their own homes. This will help to reduce the need for patients to attend urgent care facilities in person.

Collaboration with other healthcare providers: NHS England will work closely with other healthcare providers, such as community health services, to ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

This plan is designed to address the urgent care crisis and improve the quality of care for patients in England. By implementing these measures, we will ensure that patients receive the care they need, when they need it.”

Nicholas Robinson 3 February, 2023 9:00 pm

Anyone who thinks Telemedicine or Virtual Wards are the answer to our problems should read this

Nhs Direct was trialling this 16 yrs ago!!

Paul Burgess 8 February, 2023 6:45 pm


Richard Greenway 9 February, 2023 5:03 pm

Copperfield – Single-handedly stopping GP partners leaving by comedy