Your humble servant

To: Don Wise, chief executive

From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive

Re: Saying no

Dear Don,

The Ian Paisley of the BMA and chairman of its GPs committee Laurence Buckman was obviously being disingenuous when he asked whether people thought he had bribed the King’s Fund to say polyclinics were pants. Everybody knows GPs wouldn’t stick their hands in their pockets for anything. How can they when their hands are always outstretched and waiting to be crossed with silver?

Paisley could have learnt a thing or two from the BMA before he retired. He may have said “no” for nearly 40 years but he’s a wimp compared with doctors. The BMA said “no” to the NHS and then “no” to salaried GPs… until they saw the salaries. They’ve said “no” to every proposal going for the last 60 years. If you Google the words “BMA” and “yes” you’ll find 280,000 references. Not bad you might think. Then try Googling “BMA” and “no”… you get 2,270,000 results.

I still get confused about how you can claim to privatise a privatised service. GP surgeries are built with taxpayers’ money - which passes straight into the hands of private entrepreneurs. It is the most glorious pension scheme you could ever get your hands on. And what the numskulls still haven’t worked out is that if you take more work out of hospitals and give it to primary care, then that’s even more geld they’ll be able to trouser.

Doctors will also point out that only they can offer continuity of service to patients. But that’s only if you book two weeks in advance and can see them 9.30-11.30am or 2.30-5.30pm any weekday except Tuesday afternoons (for receptionists’ training), Thursday mornings (practice hug time) and Friday afternoons (spending the QOF payment).

Otherwise, you can see whoever’s around or has been hired from Eastern Europe so that GPs can avoid continuity of care when patients most value it: after hours. And guess what they use to guarantee continuity of care? An electronic patient recordƒ something else they said “no” to!