An un­healthy mess

Daily Mail - - News -

OF all Tony Blair’s mud­dle- headed schemes, ar­guably the most dam­ag­ing has been the sham­bolic GPs’ con­tracts.

Dreamed up in 2004 to im­prove pa­tient care, Labour’s botched ini­tia­tive has, in fact, de­prived mil­lions of a ser­vice they de­serve.

Doc­tors could scarcely be­lieve their luck at be­ing al­lowed to earn vast sums, with gold-plated pen­sions, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously opt­ing out of evening and week­end work. Pa­tients now strug­gle to se­cure ap­point­ments dur­ing unso­cia­ble hours, forced in­stead to head to A&E. In­evitably, this places am­bu­lance ser­vices and hos­pi­tals un­der in­tol­er­a­ble strain.

Wel­come to the mad­house of out-of-hours care in mod­ern Bri­tain!

Now, it is re­vealed some parts of the UK have been left with­out a sin­gle fam­ily doc­tor on call. Less qual­i­fied nurses or paramedics must shoul­der the bur­den.

Medics who do choose to work can charge a for­tune – swal­low­ing up money that could be spent on pa­tients.

True, we don’t train enough GPs and we have a grow­ing and age­ing pop­u­la­tion – adding to the crisis en­gulf­ing the NHS. Pre­dictably, unions point to lack of fund­ing.

This, though, is about more than money. The fam­ily surgery is the bedrock of the NHS. Min­is­ters must grasp the net­tle and cre­ate a vi­able round-the- clock ser­vice that the pub­lic has ev­ery right to ex­pect.

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