I was drawn to this article by George Monbiot written back in 2008 when the then PM Gordon Brown talked of a need to improve GP access …… but who were the drivers of this demand? It would seem they are back at the wheel driving David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt’s Health policy vehicle…….Despite a change in government there seems to be no change in philosophy. Having a market and choices is only important where there is overcapacity, and we are in a world of under capacity: too few doctors and nurses, and too many patients.
The CBI has produced a long list of complaints about GPs’ failure to “rise to the challenge” of the market(15). In truth they are among the most efficient workers in the NHS. One of the reasons why their pay has jumped so quickly is that they have responded more effectively than the government expected to the incentives in their new contract (giving the government a further stick with which to beat them). They are way ahead of the hospitals in their use of information technology. But there is money in primary care, which is why they are now in the firing line. GPs say that the government was hoping they would reject its demand for longer opening hours, knowing that the private sector could then step into the breach.
………..The richest opportunities for capital exist within that part of the economy controlled by the state. Here, because the government cannot allow services to fail, the risks are low and the gains, for early movers, can be astronomical. An army of lobbyists, assisted by the corporate media, has been demanding ever greater access. Blair discovered that as long as you conceal your plans, you can give the CBI, Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere what they want and get away with it. If you show your hand, as Cameron has done, you blow it.http://www.monbiot.com/2011/05/16/a-death-foretold/