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Maths made simple for politicians



50 million more appointments multipled by 10 minutes = 500,000,000 minutes.

Divide by 60 = 8,333,333 extra hours of GP time needed per year.

Assume an average full time GP working week of 50 hours (yes, I know we do more than that). 

50 multiplied by 46 weeks (sorry Matt, we do need some holiday) = 2,300 hours per year.

8,333,333 divided by 2300 = 3,623.

Yes 3,623 extra GPs – not to worry though, the Tories are promising 6,000, despite a Nuffield Trust report earlier this year showing a drop in GP numbers, from 65 to 60 per 100,000 of population from 2014 to 2018.

For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that some of these appointments are to be undertaken by nurses, physiotherapists and physician associates, and I’ll also assume these healthcare professionals are all being held in animated suspension in a basement at Tory HQ, because they sure as hell aren’t queuing outside our surgeries looking for work.

A health service for which any decent medical registrar would long ago have ceased resuscitation attempts

I’m no numbers genius, but I’m betting that I paid more attention in maths lessons at school than Johnson or Hancock, who presumably spent the lessons scratching rude words in Latin into their desks with the sharp end of their compasses.

Apart from the fact that the latest Tory party pledges quite literally don’t add up, I’m left wondering who they think they’re fooling. 

Nobody who works in the NHS, and I doubt any patient who’s used the NHS recently, would be naïve enough to believe these pledges.

All the political parties are up to this, of course, in a desperate attempt to outbid each other in this pre-Christmas game of fantasy healthcare budget.

It matters little in the end, as whoever emerges victorious is going to have to face the reality of providing healthcare to an increasingly needy population, in the depths of the NHS’ worst-anticipated winter, with a health service in cardiopulmonary arrest and for which any decent medical registrar would long ago have ceased resuscitation attempts.

Still, as Boris might say: ‘in spe vivimus’.

Dr David Turner is a GP in North West London