Usually I reject commercial telephone calls at home. I tried to get them stopped but at least some get through. This was a consultant, I was told, employed by the Primary Care Trust (Heart of Birmingham) surveying satisfaction with their general practitioners.
The questioning was lengthy with endless questions prefaced with “would you change your G.P. if….?” . Opening hours was one of the carrots.
Actually I have no intention of leaving the practice I use. Apart from getting appointments by telephone I have no complaints. In fact care I have received has been excellent including effective treatment for a number of potentially disabling conditions.
However I did fall for agreeing that more convenient opening hours would be beneficialm such as Saturdays and evenings.
It’s only after I put the phone down that I began to worry. The local PCT has been trying to coerce doctors into coming into medical centres where there is a range of medical services available. They were told that of they didn’t accept tenders would be put out to attract Boots and the like.
I remember that in Derbyshire a year or two back local people arrived at their surgery to find that an American pharmaceutical company had taken control of the general practice.
No I wasn’t asked if I wanted my general practice taken over by big business. And I don’t!
Although the government claims to have put vast sums into the health services it’s clear that returns don’t show clear benefits all too often. Obsession with performance targets leads to bizarre practices. Trusts have found themselves paying off for the Private Finance Initiative contracts. (There was a story of one firm taking around 25% and then getting a re-finance deal when it took more like 75%!).
Final question, how much is HoBtPCT paying a consultant to get the answers to questions it wants to justify what I believe the general public would roundly oppose?