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DR SCOTT'S SURGERY; In association with the NHS.

Byline: DR SCOTT

I HAVE learned the hard way that it is a bad idea to write letters or emails when you are angry or upset. The best thing to do is to sleep on it and then decide whether to tell the boss what a moron he is.

Unfortunately an article I read in the Telegraph on November 13 still has me fuming: 'GP surgeries could be run by Tesco or Virgin' By Nick Britten

"Every GP surgery in the centre of England's second largest city will be scrapped and replaced by franchised health centres run by private companies such as Tesco or Virgin under proposals published by its primary care trust. The plans, described as 'the most frightening document I've ever read' by a senior GP, include abolishing the 76 existing practices in Birmingham and replacing them with 24 branded primary care units, each predicted to see up to 15,000 patients a year.

"The Heart of Birmingham health trust's corporate franchising strategy has been presented to the board and approved by its professional executive committee. The trust aims to have the first supersurgery open in the year." Don't get me wrong, I think these companies are excellent. I worked for as an occupational health doctor for Marks and Spencer and learned a lot from them. Will Virgin run ante-natal clinics? The job of any well run retailing outfit is to attract you into their store to buy something you need and then to encourage you to buy what you never even knew you wanted.

Your doctor's job is to be your health advocate, to find what your health needs are and to guide you through the path required to meet those needs. This is often very complex with the need to listen, understand and be aware of all the options and concerns. It must involve a trusting partnership approach. It is not the relationship between a salesman and a client. Yes we need better premises, yes we need convenient access, but doctors are not emotionally attached to working in poor accommodation. It is the NHS organisations, who should have been well organised and helping us to build new surgeries, that have let patients down.

These Primary Care Trusts, and their predecessors, have been under resourced and constantly reorganised. It is Birmingham's PCT that should be held to account for the state of primary care in the city. Let's try to keep what is best about personal medical care in the NHS and learn what we can from private industry. If we throw away what many countries envy about our health system, the relationship patients have with their doctors, we may not be able to get it back when we realise our mistake.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 19, 2007
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