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Aristotle, health ministers and the burden of women GPs

I read yesterday's newspaper and noticed health minister Anna Soubry's attack on part-time women GPs. Next week I have to sit examinations in Latin as part of my classics OU degree. I thought perhaps Aristotelian logic might help the current batch of health ministers find their way.

Statement 1: When health minsters and primary care managers support and understand the needs of general practice, general practice works well

Statement 2: The current health minister and primary care managers do not support nor understand the needs of general practice

Therefore – general practice does not work well.

Ten years ago, managers dealing with primary care understood the needs of general practice. The health ministers were keen to reward general practice. Part-time women GPs were valued (remember the married women’s retainer scheme?). GPs and their patients were quite satisfied. General practice was thought of as the quality and efficient end of the NHS.

Now, managers dealing with primary care do not understand the needs of general practice, Health ministers are keen to criticise general practice.  Part-time women GPs are not valued. GPs are unhappy. Patients are not happy. General practice is constantly blamed and demeaned for failing to provide a quality service.

Now, you can try all sorts of new things to make the current position better, but, it used to work, and work well not that long ago. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. So ministers, to misquote from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, you just need to look at what has worked, stupid.

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