There was a time, not long ago, when British GPs provided the best home doctor service in the world. Patients could telephone their doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week (including Christmas), ask for a home visit and get one. Patients prepared to visit the surgery could expect to see a doctor the day they called.
Those were the good old days.
Today, it is easier to find a plumber than a doctor at nights and weekends. The absence of out of hours GP services means that patients wanting emergency help out of office hours must visit their nearest major hospital and spend hours queuing in the A&E department. In some areas the waiting time is 16 hours. In practice patients may be forced to lie in an ambulance, parked outside the hospital, for more than a day before room can be found for them in the accident and emergency department. Patients who might otherwise have been saved are dying while waiting for treatment.
It is generally assumed that the sudden deterioration in the quality of general practice is the result of the deal done between the Government and the British Medical Association, the doctors’ trade union. The deal allowed doctors to opt out of providing night and weekend cover and, for most of the country, spelt the end of the traditional 24 hour a day cover. Those who looked a little closer assumed that the deal was itself an inevitable result of EU employment laws which regulated the number of hours employees could work.
But although the EU laws are partly responsible for the sudden deterioration in the quality of the NHS, they aren’t the whole answer; there is another organisation which deserves a good part of the blame: the General Medical Council.
The General Medical Council, the GMC, is a curious organisation which is half charity, half quango, half government department, half protection racket and, it seems to me, half enforcer for the Great Reset. (It has ruthlessly attacked any doctors who dared step out of line and share their views about the fake pandemic.) The GMC used to consist of a little more than a file clerk, who kept the register of doctors who were qualified to practice medicine, and a committee of rather pompous individuals who sat in judgement when erring doctors were accused of ‘having extra marital relations’ with their patients on the consulting room couch.
In those simple days the filing clerk kept a list of doctors and stored the list in a couple of filing cabinets. Every year the GMC published a couple of thick red books which listed all the doctors on the medical register. The whole thing cost next to nothing to run. As recently as 1973, the GMC’s total income was £662,579. I doubt if that would pay the current organisation’s phone bill.