The Quixote Inquiry



Over the last few days I have been musing on this issue of the Politicians’  and The Department’s enthusiasm for the policy of enabling citizens to register with the GP of their Choice, Anywhere in England. For two years I have been waking up most mornings with the thought ‘How can they be so stupid’.

A few days ago I had the good fortune of being pointed to the lecture/article The Plot Against the NHS, which introduced the book by the same name, which was published today, April 14.

I read the article with interest and today emailed the link to my GP colleagues in Tower Hamlets. I also ordered the book and it arrived today. I read the first chapter this afternoon on my way to see the film The Inside Job which looks at the banking crash (deregulation of the financial services, CDOs, subprime mortgages, complicity of academics, etc).

I strongly recommend that you get a hold of this book, if you are a citizen, or a healthcare worker; if you are minister you probably ought to read a copy so you are prepared if anyone asks you about it.

Anyway, as I watched the film, I was also thinking about the health politicians, the journalists, the Think Tanks. There is a similar sort of dynamic taking place. And money plays a role. As does the American influence (as it did with the Iraq War: misinformation, hidden agenda; a political minority elite pushing an issue; UK policy being influenced by American interests).

As I was saying, I have been musing: I thought I might turn this blog into an Inquiry. Like the Hutton Inquiry, the Chilcot Inquiry, and others.

This particular Inquiry would be into this issue of being able to register with the GP Practice of Your Choice, Anywhere in England. How did it come to be that all three main political parties think this policy is desirable? Why does The Department think it is such a good idea? Why do journalists apparently have little to say about it, presumably not fussed by it? What do the Think Tanks think about this policy?

Perhaps an eminent judge will volunteer to chair this Inquiry. In the meantime, I will act as the chair, and general factotum. We already have some witness material (‘Andrew Lansley’s’ email exchange with me, the Chair of the Inquiry; the Labour government’s dodgy ‘Consultation’, and so on).

Obviously, it is important to have a name for the Inquiry. Inquiries seem to be named after their Chair. I have no desire for this Inquiry to carry my name. I then thought, perhaps the One GP Protest Inquiry. That did not sound right. Then my mind alighted on the ‘Quixote Inquiry’, and this seemed to fit the bill. But I am open to suggestions from citizens on this.

The Quixote Inquiry opens with me having a glass of Rioja, and sending an email to the King’s Fund. Because on 17 September 2009 the then Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham, went to the King’s Fund and, according to media reports, said:

“In this day and age, I can see no reason why patients should not be able to choose the GP practice they want. Many of us lead hectic lives and health services should be there to make things easier.”

(See Guardian article, with video of Burnham reading from a script):

Now I am curious because the King’s Fund is filled with clever people. What did they make of this sentence: ‘I can think of no reason why patients should not be able to choose the GP practice they want.’?

I will keep you posted.