Don't give us "special measures" – give us back the NHS we know and love

Patients want to see a named GP within a day of needing to, not more tinkering

Share

It’s the tinkering, the endless bloody tinkering, with institutions and services so fundamental to our collective wellbeing that, to put it bluntly: does one’s head in. From education to the NHS, via immigration and pensions, we don’t know where we are, let alone where we are going, because we are lumbered with perennial government by opinion poll, without vision.

The result is endless chopping and changing, leaving the public to play catch up. One small example, the AS Levels my elder daughter just sat through in May, the younger one won’t be sitting next May. We are going back to the system of final exam A-Levels only  - years after it was discredited.

But this weekend’s tinker, fiddle, bumble and fudge is to do with GPs; changing yet again how GP practices are viewed, measured and ultimately funded.

The new genius idea is to put failing GP Practices into “special measures”. From this October, 8,000 NHS GP practices will be rated on the basis of whether they are “outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate”. Well, it’s worked so well with schools, hasn’t it?

According to the Care Quality Commission: “Practices that fail to make improvements will be put into special measures, after which they will be given a further six months to meet the standards we require. At the end of their period in special measures, if we still judge them to be inadequate, we will cancel their CQC registration and their contract with NHS England will be terminated. In some cases, when we believe poor care is putting patients at risk or that a practice is not capable of improving on its own, we will put the practice straight into special measures.”

I know and you know that this means we are one small step away from the dreaded, iniquitous league tables that so blight our state schools. Those in charge of running the NHS seem to actually believe this is what we want, when what we really want is so blindingly simple.

When I was little we had a GP called Dr Morris. He was a kindly yet forbidding man, with a cold stethoscope and a succession of posh Rovers – I can still recall a 3500 and a 2000. The latter was butterscotch coloured.

How can I remember that? Because we visited that same surgery to see that same GP all the way through my Croydon childhood. One or other of those cars would be parked outside our house, perhaps once a year, on an emergency home visit – although looking back, there were only a couple of real emergencies.

That is what we want: a named GP we get to see within a day of needing to. Failing that, a group of GPs in a practice that we develop a sense of continuity and understanding with, and who are able to give us more that ten minutes’ time. We know they can’t currently and don’t blame them. It is clearly not their fault.

Talk to virtually any GP and that is what they want too. They hate the conveyor belt nature that endless cuts, re-organisations and streamlinings have foisted upon them. They want to give us the same exemplary care Dr Morris provided so selflessly and unfailingly that I can remember it to this day. Will special measures help achieve that? Will they, my a**e.

READ MORE:
We wouldn't need to recall Parliament if it worked on the same schedule as the rest of us do  

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to adapt and survive

Nigel Edwards
 

Letter from the Sub-Editor: Canada is seen as a peaceful nation, but violent crime isn’t as rare as you might think

Jeffrey Simpson
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?