May’s scapegoat attempt could spark mass resignations, says top GP

Dr Kailash Chand says GPs are rightly angry at government effort to shift blame for NHS crisis on to them with seven-day threat.

Family doctors and medical leaders have rejected Theresa May’s demand to move to a seven-day week, with senior GPs warning that it could lead to mass resignations.

Dr Kailash Chand, a former deputy chair of the British Medical Association, said GPs were so angry with government attempts to scapegoat them for the crisis in the NHS and chronic underfunding that they could disaffiliate from the service.

Downing Street told surgeries in England on Friday that if they refused to move to 8am-8pm opening, seven days a week, they would lose funding unless they could prove there was no demand from patients.

Chand said: “I think making this particular statement at this minute is essentially scapegoating. [May] has got to find something, she can’t blame [the health secretary] Jeremy Hunt for this, or her own government.

“She’s got to find a scapegoat and GPs are probably the easiest scapegoat in this way because your rival papers, like the Daily Mail, all the time are giving the public the view that GPs don’t work and GPs are working only nine-to-five, which is nonsense.”

Chand said he saw a more sinister, veiled motivation behind the threat, which was to “decimate or underfund the NHS to that level where people start saying the NHS is not serving and ultimately pass it on to the private sector”.

He said: “There was, last year, a special LSE conference in London in which there was a call for a mass resignation from GPs. The GPs I’ve talked to, they are so angry, so angry. And rightly angry, that what do they expect from us? And I think it’s high time, they might be that desperate, that they say yes. If you want this kind of work without funding then it is a call for mass resignation.”

Full story in The Guardian 14 January 2017