Here’s a brief gallop through a timeline of our GP problem as I understand it.
Our GP recognises his days as a single GP surgery are numbered. Funding cuts are coming and he must plan.
For six months he tries to find viable ways of funding for himself. It’s not happening. I don’t know why. I can imagine single GP practices are a risk. So is the real fear of further cuts.
Our GP goes to NHS England and opens a case for funding help. They say no. Case closed.
Control of GPs and budgets then go to the CCG. His case notes are apparently either not transferred or not flagged up for the CCG to ask if he’s coping now.
In December 2015, they are amazed by his resignation. They did not see it coming, apparently.
Thet are so amazed, this basically renders them incapable of asking if there is anything they can do to help or overturn his decision. This, despite the acknowledged problems of retaining GPs in our city.
They are so amazed that they sit on his resignation for 20 days and do not let him shut his patient list or tell his patients.
When he does get to tell them, they want to complain.
They complain to the CCG and are met with resistance at every turn.
They complain to everyone who will listen.
They find that the CCG monitor their own complaints.
They can only escalate it to NHS England after a great struggle. NHS England do not want to know, even though they sit higher in the hierarchy than the CCG.
They complain to the Health ombudsman. They have no power over the issue of CCGs.
They complain to the chair of health and well being at the council. He has no power either.
They complain to the CQC (Care Quality Commission) who do have powers to investigate CCGs but they are limited and acknowledged to be largely ineffectual.
They complain to Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Health. He is a very busy man.
So, what next?
Do the patients give up? Do they shuffle back into line, wrist slapped?
They are so damn cross at how utterly incestuous the whole process is and how the term ‘public servant’ is synonymous in these people’s minds with ‘self interest’ and how they are using the bodies of the public to scramble up the slippery slope of power, they shout louder. They are more determined, more driven and more sure that the only real way to change things is from the outside in, and they’re going to make damn sure that change happens.
The CCG might only regulate themselves, but you see, so do we.