Fairness and Rudeness

In the last week it is very interesting how much mud has been slung my/our way by those who are supposed to have a duty of care towards me/us.

I have been accused of being rude by a man so angry his face was red, who was pointing his finger at me in a public meeting where I was politeness itself, despite having been invited to it and then turned away from attending it through no fault of my own. At no point during this accusation did I lose my temper or behave in any way that my mother would not have been proud of.

There are about 150 witnesses who can testify to this.

When I asked for proof I was told that an employee of this person had been eavesdropping on a conversation I was having with three other people and had reported back what I had said.

As you know, I take issue with the fact that I was rude, given where I was at the time (in the foyer of the building rented by the people I was supposed to have been being rude about, in earshot of their employees). Nevertheless, it strikes me as ironic that a man shouting in my face and pointing at me, ranting about how one of his employees had been  eavesdropping on a conversation that was none of his business to listen to in the first place has the temerity to accuse me of rudeness.

When asking for clarity on questions that directly affect the future of our GP surgery, members of our group have been accused of ‘splitting hairs’. Asking to have something explained clearly and keeping asking if the answer is unclear is not ‘splitting hairs’. It is common sense.

We have been treated like naughty school children who will not behave. We have been given lectures. We have been made to sit in front of Power Point presentations about our conduct. We have been shouted down. We have been talked over. We have been dismissed out of hand as ‘not understanding’, by the people whose job it is to help us understand and who work harder every day to bury information under insults, lies and obfuscation.

We have been directly told we are scare mongering, bitter people who, it has been inferred should not have the right to public protest about the future of our own health and the wider NHS crisis.

I have also been accused, as have my fellow patients, of being privileged, as if this is something we should be punished for. We have been told that the area we live in is too nice. We have basically been told that we are too affluent. We have been told that the money that was allocated to us by the NHS is not fairly ours, despite us having nothing to do with how it was allocated, nor the fact that it will be taken away from us whether we like it or not.

Because we have too much, the imbalance has to be addressed. It has been intimated that the excess allocated to us would be more fairly spent on other people, and that as a result we have to accept the loss of our GP.

So, not only are we being deprived of funding per head, we are also being deprived of our GP and despite the fact that once a GP goes, the next line for the CCG to investigate is how to keep the surgery open, they have decided not to do that either, so we will also be deprived of our community surgery.

That is considered a fair price for our privilege. To address the question of privilege we never asked for, everything is being taken away from us, and we are being treated as if we deserve this.

This is from the very body who are supposed to be caring for us.

There is no mention of the fairness of the fact that ours is the third surgery in our community to be shut in two months, or the fact that others are under threat. How fair is it for those patients who have already lost their GP, or who will lose him/her in the months to follow?

There is no mention of how that fairness plays out in a city where we are down 40 GPs city wide since last year, and where our city council are holding a primary health care summit in early spring to address a crisis that affects us all, not just the supposedly privileged few.

There is no mention of how that fairness works in CCG inspired schemes to attract new doctors including offering them a golden hello of £20,000 each and trying to entice physician practitioners from the USA, and even then they cannot get people to come and practice here. These are measures which, according to publicly searchable news sources have cost our city £850,00 and done nothing to stop the steady drain of care from patients who need it.

There is no mention of how fair it is to take all this away from us in a city whose CCG funded four, out of hours  hub surgeries last year at an estimated cost of £3.2 million, that are operating at numbers well below capacity and at least one of which they have admitted is under threat of closure by April. Nor of the fact that some of the members of the CCG are members of Federations who have been directly involved in running and staffing those hub surgeries.

What’s fair about that?

What, in that litany of disasters and mis-spent public funds, not including the thorny issue of an A&E department operating regular declarations of emergency closure, makes it fair to close down our GP surgery as well, and justify it by telling us that it is helping those less fortunate?

We are ALL less fortunate.

If our surgery closes, our misfortunes will be shared with everyone else in the city.

The chairman of our CCG himself admitted in a public meeting on Tuesday, (where his CCG body authorised two policemen to stand outside the CCG building for two hours in case I turned up with a rowdy mob, despite all evidence to the contrary that I would, and in fact which I attended alone), that the primary care crisis in our city will only worsen over the next twelve months.

How is the closure of our surgery and the supposedly forced resignation of our city’s best rated GP, fair for anyone? How is that going to alleviate any of the problems they are desperately trying to sling at our door?

How is it fair that our GP wants to hire another GP and grow his practice,taking strain off other practices in the area, and the CCG won’t help him to do it?

How is it fair that we are already being pushed onto waiting lists of surgeries that don’t want us, that are closing, that are merging, that are telling us that despite ‘patient choice’ we are out of catchment, that we cannot have home visits, that if we come to the surgery we are looking at a 3-4 week wait for an appointment?

How is it fair that we are told that this is the price we have to pay because once, several years ago, when it was offered to him by the NHS, our GP chose to be funded in  a way that years later would make us look pampered?

Show me how this is right.

I got a comment on my blog post ‘The Price on Your Head’, yesterday. It was apparently from a GP. I say apparently because this is the internet and anyone can be anything. I say apparently because I cannot believe a GP would actually say this to me.

His comments basically accused my maths of being misinformed and that I did this on purpose (he may be right about me being misinformed, I did say this in the blog post. He omitted to read that bit. Careless. Blame the CCG, they were the ones who couldn’t explain it to me. I certainly did not do this on purpose and anyone who reads the post carefully can see that). He suggested that our GP was incompetent (despite this article that says that 1 in 5 surgeries in London will be forced to close within three years. Are they all incompetent too?). He suggested that it was indeed unfair that our GP got all that money when surgeries like his got less.

I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He clearly only skimmed the post. I will give him the further benefit of the doubt and say that he hasn’t read my other posts.

I disagree with him over the things he inferred. I do agree with him that it is unfair, but not in the way that he thinks.

It is unfair. It absolutely is.

We are not being NIMBY about this. This isn’t just about saving our own surgery. This is about fighting back for all surgeries. It is not fair that any patient should be reduced to being £70 per head commodities on a spread sheet. It is not fair that they be treated like commodities at all.

It is not fair that funding is being cut, that single practice GP surgeries, despite having a proven track record of being fantastic in operation, are becoming unviable because funding dictates federations and super surgeries are the way forward. It is not fair that surgery closures are a nationwide problem.

It is not fair that our GPs, whoever they are, should be treated like dirt and with a contempt that often forces them to make difficult decisions about their future and about patient care.

That is what is not fair.

And to pretend that it is the fault of patients, or honest, hard working GPs is what is rude.



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