My email to Stephen Dorrell, Chairman of Health Select Committee, on GP practice boundaries

Dear Stephen Dorrell,

I sent a submission to the Health Select Committee in May 2013 raising concerns about the Government proposal to abolish GP practice boundaries (1).

A concluding paragraph read as follows:

I am making what is a serious and unsettling charge. The people involved in promoting this policy (ministers from both Labour and Conservative parties, and policy makers at the Department of Health) are trying to implement a policy which by its very design will cause primary care services to malfunction and cause real harm. These people have not done an honest risk assessment. They have promoted the policy in a very biased and misleading way. The result is that they have misled Parliament, journalists, and the citizens of England. If this policy were a financial product, it would be deemed mis-selling. In some senses, it is fraudulent.

I sent an email to Jeremy Hunt on 8/9/13 raising my concerns (copied to you) (2); in response I received an evasive and irrelevant reply from the Department of Health (3); I sent a second email to Jeremy Hunt a week ago (again, copied to you) (4).

You were contacted by Pulse following my submission in May (5), and the article suggested that the Health Select Committee were going to investigate the policy. Has it done so? If yes, why was I not called to elaborate on, and to substantiate, my charges? If you have not investigated this matter, do you intend to and when? If you do not intend to examine it, why not?

I am aware that there is a glaring conflict of interest here, both for you personally and for your entire committee. Were you to investigate this policy, it would be very difficult to avoid coming to the conclusion that at best those involved in the planning and promotion of the policy were naive and ignorant and grotesquely incompetent (in short, a ‘blunder’); but, worst still, you might be unable to avoid concluding (as I have) that there has been a wilful misleading of the public and of parliament, that it is not just a blunder but actually a scam, a fraud. This would be embarrassing for your party as this, remarkably, appears to be a flagship policy for the Government (6),  and embarrassing for the Labour Party (one of the prime promoters of this policy was Andy Burnham when he was Secretary of State for Health; he is now the shadow minister for health and his credibility would be severely damaged if a light were shone on his involvement). So I expect you will do all you can to avoid looking at this honestly and fully. And that in itself will raise further questions.

If your committee is unable to scrutinise this policy thoroughly, then who should?

Yours sincerely,

George Farrelly

The Tredegar Practice
35 St Stephens Road
London E3 5JD

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16/11/13: Yesterday it was announced that GP practice boundaries would be abolished as part of the new GP Contract. I have not heard from Stephen Dorrell or any member of the Health Select Committee. 

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26/7/14: I never received a reply to this email which was copied to all members of the Health Select Committee

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1. My Submission to the Health Select Committee

2. My email to Jeremy Hunt, 8/9/13

3. Response from the Department of Health

4. Second email to Jeremy Hunt

5. Pulse article 10/5/13

6. Coalition Government claim that the ‘pilot’ is evidence that they have improved the NHS

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