Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fools and their ideas are soon parted.

Fools and their ideas are soon parted in politics and this week’s speeches by Ed Miliband and that by Gordon Brown during the Scottish referendum illustrate this. 

Ed has promised 8000 extra GPs by the end of the next parliament while Gordon emphasised how he and Scotland had built the NHS while conveniently ignoring his and his fellow Scot Tony Blair’s plans to privatise it. Presumably those who some in a satirical magazine refer to as Milibean will become nice Jack in the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale whereby Ed sows some magic beans that magically grow some 8000 GPs out of nowhere if he is elected as the next Prime Minister? 

Perhaps as we are in the silly season that is Party conference time we ought to revisit the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale and consider Ed’s fictitious promise. 

The total number of medical graduates trained in the UK is around 8000 a year so if by some incredible turn of fate Milibean persuaded all of them to become GPs in his first year as PM and these would have to be all the F2 doctors in a single year then he would deliver his target by the end of year 3 of his premiership. 

He could try a slightly different tack and say just get half of all medical graduates in the UK 4000 in year one and then another 4000 in year 2 could be trained to be GPs in which case he could using the above arguments deliver 4000 newly trained GPs by the end of year 3 and another 4000 by the end of year 4 and so on.

Assuming for the sake of argument each of these GPs was paid an average of £ 100,000 a year this would only cost the country some £ 800,000,000 extra in wages. The current spend on GP services is 8.4 % of the budget provide by 65,294 GPs so add another 8,000 GPs and this might lead to a 1% rise in the NHS budget and no doubt there will be no increases in taxes as this is a politician who is talking.

Now clearly no-one in Ed’s Party has told him how stark b*llock (sorry for the naughty grunt word) naked his promises are for no-one has told him that general practice is not popular with new medical graduates. Perhaps because politicians tell everyone that GPs are idle, overpaid, golf playing idiots and politicians increase their work load year on year and decrease their pay as well as the funding for it while increasing demand. Did we also mention that currently GP training places are not full? You have to admire Emperor Ed’s new clothes.

So how is Ed going to deliver on his promise? Increase the number of medical students by 8000 but naked Emperor Ed probably doesn’t realize it takes 10 years to train a GP from entry to medical school? Perhaps naked Emperor Ed will introduce NHS Choice to fee paying medical students and introduce conscription for all F2s by getting the appropriate percentage per year to draw a black ball out of a bag which means they have to train as GPs? Easily done using the current lottery that is selection for medical training. 

No doubt Ed would assume that newly qualified highly trained, intelligent doctors would never dare to ask for more if forced to be GPs and might actually vote with their feet if they wanted to be surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists etc. and go abroad?

Praise be to the Party for making the NHS so easy to fix. Politicians have years of experience of this for they are the ones who constantly break it in the first place and Emperor Ed is just another politician clad in empty promises wondering why no-one believes or likes him. 

Just look at the track record of those who have preceded him recently.