“…..no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now…..” Aneurin Bevan Speech on 3 July 1948 at the Bellevue Hotel, on eve of the entry into force of the National Health Service
Dear Mr Cameron,
I am writing to you as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, because under your watch we are seeing the destruction of what many regard as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the NHS.
You may not have been aware, but whilst you were away in Europe, another conference took place. GPs from across the UK came together to declare a ‘state of emergency’ in primary care and debate what could be done to help the growing number of struggling practices.
GPs are being crushed by workload and punished by soaring indemnity and meaningless inspection regimens. We have a workload and a workforce state of emergency. Access to health care to people in this country is at risk and close to collapse.
And the situation is being made worse by irresponsible rhetoric from your ministers.
The whole health service is at risk as you push for a ‘seven-day service’ without the required 40% increase in financial or workforce resource. This is what the junior doctors are trying to tell you. That is why they are protesting on the streets at your new unsafe contract. This is not about politics, but about people. About your Government’s will to maintain primary care and a universal healthcare service.
The conference last week was our vote of ‘no confidence’ in you and your Government.
Here is our evidence; you make the sick, the poor and the young pay for this country’s debt, you won’t raise taxes to fund a service that is universally recognised as one of the most efficient, effective and fair in the world, you won’t keep the NHS out of TTIP, you systematically strangle resources to the NHS and primary care in particular, you let excellent practices and services go to the wall whilst letting private companies who can’t make money out of their NHS contracts walk away from them without redress. You misrepresent evidence to suit your ideologies and treat NHS staff with contempt, undermine them, blame them, starve them, beat them but occasionally turn and promise them ‘something nice if you behave’. In any other profession this would be called institutionalised abuse. You and your Government have abused GPs and abused our NHS.
And you appear blind and deaf to what is now happening around you. As Dr Chaand Nagpaul thundered from the LMC conference platform, ‘It’s not safe!’ You are wasting fine doctors and nurses who are burned out, shattered, sick and exiting. It’s not safe for anyone – GPs and patients. This is why GPs will, if it comes to it, tender mass resignation.
Both the fault and the remedy is at your door. Money is needed but money alone will not get them back. Prime Minister, confidence is the precious resource you need to regain.
Come to my practice and speak to my patients and I will show you how. But I urge you to be open to hearing some hard truths, because the health service is not currently safe in your hands and your legacy could be the start of its destruction.
Dr Naomi Beer
GP in Tower Hamlets