Does the average MP understand how general practice works?

On a previous post I included an email exchange with an MP. The MP had responded to one of my emails to MPs, on the topic of GP practice boundaries. The MP said: “I must say that I do have some sympathy with the idea of free registration.  I had an excellent GP in XX who I was with from the age of 19 when I went to University.  It seems strange that I could not remain with that GP when I only live 40mins away in YY.”

Now most GPs will think it is obvious why living 40 minutes driving distance (according to the AA route finder it is about 34 miles) is not practical. What is worrying is that this well-meaning MP, who is voting on the Health Bill which includes the GP boundary issue, is not aware why 40 minutes/34 miles is problematic.

What is the average MP’s understanding of the structure and ecology of general practice?

2 Responses to Does the average MP understand how general practice works?

  1. Dr Grumble says:

    I saw my last GP recently walking his dog. He’s now retired. I never ever saw him as a patient. My previous GP was once my House Physician. I never saw her as a patient either. My current GP I have never ever met.

    I suspect the average MP sees their GP more often than I do but that does not give them any understanding of the boundary issue. Working men don’t really have the concept of the sort of illness that needs GPs to maintain their boundaries.

    Not, of course, that any of this has been properly thought through. If they are going to close even more hospital beds and care for patients in the community you would think that the last thing they would want to do is do away with boundaries.

    The real driver is choice and competition. They want GPs to be fighting with one another for custom. It’s quite crazy, of course. The idea that the frail elderly and the mentally ill are going to be shopping around is nonsense. But that’s the way these people think.

    There is more sense and less blind dogma in the Lords. I pray that they throw this whole evil bill out but how they can easily do that now that the current structures have been decimated I don’t know.

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