Archive for July 15, 2010

A Blog of Two Halves

July 15, 2010

I am far from a dyed in the wool (I used to think that was actually ‘dead in the wall’) Labour supporter, nor am I blue or yellow in my persuasion.  I wanted to note this in advance in an effort to convince you to not think I’m railing against things for big-P political reasons, more because I’m having a few problems with the way some of the essential cuts that need to be made are being reported.

In the lift today I heard people discussing the major cuts that need to be made, and getting upset at them.  Not at the detail of them, but at the headlines and tabloid style spin that is going on them.  Cutting the health service, cutting schools, getting rid of weekends, the list went on (albeit without that last one included thankfully).

What happened to the good old spin machine of government?  Gone are the days when these cuts would have been turned into a triumphant battle against waste and bureaucracy, the PM pictured astride the corpses of fat cat managers whilst wielding his scissors with gay abandon.  Instead we have George Osborne and co being perceived by the population as getting rid of everything we hold dear, just to save a few quid.

I’ll come to the actual cuts in a moment, but part of me thinks that the government have shot themselves in the foot by not getting hold of a spin doctor or two to add some polish to this economic turd.  This should be a golden age for the community, a chance for people to rise from the shackles of control and the state and take command of their own destinies.  Instead people are simply going back to tried and trusted moaning about the class gaps between politicians and ‘real people’ and how they don’t understand things in the ‘real world’.

That being said, I agree with my fellow blogger here that something just isn’t right about the plans to get rid of the PCT and give their role, power and money directly to GPs.

GPs are an overworked and constantly stretched group of professionals who have a very specific role in combating illness and raising the levels of public health.  Time for a tenuous analogy…

If my car is broke I go to a mechanic. I expect the visit to be as short as possible – I go in, they fix my car and I leave.  However, just because they can fix a car doesn’t mean they can necessarily handle any and all other car related issues.  I don’t expect my mechanic to be able to manufacture parts themselves, design cars from scratch, perform crash testing and wind tunnel work, deliver road safety lessons, conduct driving tests, drive me about wither I desire or race in Formula 1.

Likewise, if I am ill I’ll visit the doctor and expect to be diagnosed.  I don’t expect him to run projects to combat childhood obesity, programmes to support people to quit smoking or advertising campaigns to educate people when swine flu rears its ugly snout again.  His role is narrow and focused – he is there to make me feel better when I’m not well.

Why not extend this mode of amalgamation thinking further?  Let’s get rid of judges and legal teams entirely, and just get the police to decide whether someone is guilty or not, as well as getting them to run the prisons, can’t see a problem there.  There are loads of Service Heads for street cleansing and public realm – hand that job straight to the bin men and sweepers, they are faced with the issue every day after all and will know just how to spend the millions in their budgets best.

Come to think of it, Steven Gerrard is quite good at sport, let’s stop funding the Lawn Tennis Association and get rid of Andy Murray, Gerrard will do the job while on a bike (see you later Pendleton and Sir Chris of Hoy).

I agree that we need to trim the fat a bit and make sure these organisations are doing the jobs they are supposed to be doing and doing them well for less money.  PCTs prevent illness, GPs deal with it when it happens.  No matter which way you cut it, you’ll break one area of work if you make the other run it.