My warning to Jeremy Hunt on the dangers of abolishing GP practice boundaries, 3rd attempt

Dear Jeremy Hunt,

I sent you emails on 8/9/13 and 13/10/13 warning you about the problems associated with a Coalition Government proposed policy. Consider these ‘complaints’, ‘whistleblowing’. The replies I have received do not in any way address the concerns I raise. You have said that hospitals need to address complaints transparently and be responsive to members of the public, that problems should not be hidden. You have said that staff who neglect patients’ safety should be liable to criminal prosecution.

So far you have evaded the issues I have raised in my previous emails. I am saying that this policy is unworkable, that in some cases it is unsafe; overall, it will impact negatively on the functioning of general practice. If harm comes to patients because of this policy and you and others have wilfully neglected a proper risk assessment, will you be accountable?

I require the following by way of response:

A. I challenge you and your officials at the Department of Health to respond, point by point, to my submission to the Health Select Committee.

B. In the Department of Health’s media launch of the so-called ‘pilot’ in December 2011, we read: “The pilot, which will begin in April 2012 and last for one year, will also come as a relief to people who are moving home and wish to remain with their preferred practice, and families who would like a practice near to their children’s school.”

This detail of families registering at a practice near their children’s school is repeated in the evaluation Proposal submitted by Professor Mays in May 2012.

So you think this is a good idea? I challenge you and your associates at the Department of Health to answer the following questions about this particular idea:

1. What benefit accrues to a family if they register with a practice near their children’s school? Why would they want to do it?

2. How would this work practically? (Details please, full details of the mechanics of this).

3. Are there any risks or problems with this proposal?

Perhaps journalists can have a go answering these questions; and Andy Burnham; and Stephen Dorrell and his colleagues on the Health Select Committee.

Come on, have a go. Let’s see if the emperor is wearing any clothes.

Yours sincerely,

George Farrelly, GP

The Tredegar Practice
35 St Stephens Road
E3  5JD

Resident in London N7

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