Lies, damn lies and Parliamentary Questions

Aren’t statistics wonderful! At least politicians seem to love them.

Faced with the challenge that almost all the expert advice says that Lansley’s Health Bill will damage patient care, damage the NHS and waste money David Cameron stood up at Prime Minister’s questions and told us gleefully that:

“There are thousands of GPs across the country supporting our reforms.” link

OK, let’s look at that. There are about 34,000 GPs in England. We know from an RCGP survey that 98% want the Health Bill to be dropped. If all the others support the Bill that gives a maximum of 680. Hardly ‘thousands’ Mr Cameron. Perhaps the Prime Minister was confused. Perhaps he was thinking of some other doctors. Well, the Faculty of Public Health called an EGM. 96% called for the complete withdrawal of the Bill. In fact the list of organisations who oppose the Bill include:

– The British Medical Association,  The Royal College of GPs, The Royal College of Nursing, The Royal College of Midwives,  The Royal College of Radiologists, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, The NHS Support Federation, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, The British Medical Journal, Nursing Times, The Lancet, The Health Service Journal, Unison and Unite.

Indeed 19 Medical Royal Colleges were about to release a statement opposing Lansley’s Bill until frantic phone calls from Lansley himself persuaded the presidents of those colleges not to issue it. Nothing daunted the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians have called an EGM.


NHS may be about to sink

So Cameron could not have been confused because he was thinking of other doctors. Perhaps he was confused by the fact that some doctors have joined interim commissioning groups. After all he did go on to say “not only are they supporting, but they are implementing our reforms.”

We shall skip over the legal question about introducing the reforms before any legislation has been passed, we shall have to blame that on enabling legislation passed by the last Labour Government, but Mr Cameron has clearly not been listening to what GPs have been saying all round the country. ‘Just because people climbed into lifeboats it doesn’t mean they approved of the Titanic sinking’. GPs have joined these groups because they felt they had no choice.


Confused or deliberately trying to confuse?

Which all raises the uncomfortable question. Was the Prime Minister confused, or was he deliberately trying to confuse us?

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