Dr Copperfield responds to former health secretary Lord Ara Darzi’s opinion piece in the Financial Times
Calm down, everyone. There’s been a lot of reactionary Darzi/Durrrzi guff over Lord Ara Darzi’s opinion piece in the Financial Times (FT). But I think we should all take a moment to reflect on some of the excellent points made.
I admit, coughing up the requisite £1 to read the entire FT piece was a bridge too far for me. But I got the gist of it from Pulse’s article, and I would like to offer a balanced view of the quotes it highlighted.
Our GP model is ‘frozen in time’. Yes, it’s great, isn’t it? It harks back to an era when personal care and continuity were valued, and the NHS was functioning okay rather than being the gibbering, dysfunctional, doh-gobbling monster it is now. I agree that, going forward, we should move back to the past, which I think is what he means.
We GPs should be ‘welcomed on the same terms as those working in hospitals’. Exactly. We demand a retrospective pay cut to level us down to those experienced by hospital doctors in the past 15 years. In other words, that we should take strike action. Spot on, Lord D.
We should have ‘hub facilities with routine diagnostic capabilities‘. Yes, indeed! More scans!! So we’d definitely have the tools required to hit next year’s QOF incidentaloma target, plus we’re always keen to maintain patient responsibility way beyond our investigation-interpreting abilities!!! Plus we need more hubs, of any sort.
We should stop general practice being ‘at arms length’ and he wants to bring us ‘into the fold’. Cynics will say this is all about control. But I think he’s saying we all used to smell a bit but now he wants to give us a big hug.
Our model of general practice ‘cannot keep up with today’s demands’. See? He understands that we’re overwhelmed with patients and secondary care dumping everything on us. He’s practically demanding a reduction in our workload.
His plans would ‘finally complete the NHS’. Bang on, except a typographical error has missed ‘ly’ off ‘complete’ and deleted the following word, ‘screw’.
Despite all this, some will maintain that anything Lord Darzi has to say about GPs should be treated with contempt given that he probably has the experience and insight into general practice of the average expert in minimally invasive and robotic surgery. To which I say, you could make the same argument about me being asked to reconfigure regional minimally invasive and robotic surgery. I haven’t, yet, oddly, but you take my point.
So, give him a break. If you don’t believe me, just remember the success of those Darzi centres.
Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here