‘Doctor on the Cheap’ – Jeremy Hunt’s latest attack on the health service

Your life in his hands: This swivel-eyed loon thinks you don't deserve the services of a proper doctor anymore, and is planning to remove your right to see one.

Your life in his hands: This swivel-eyed loon thinks you don’t deserve the services of a proper doctor anymore, and is planning to remove your right to see one.

The government’s latest move to run down the National Health Service will replace doctors with so-called “physician associates” who do not have the required seven years of training but have instead been studying for just two, according to The Independent.

According to the paper, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (whose name was once infamously-mispronounced into a rude word that now seems more appropriate every day) said “the ‘new class of medic’ – described as being somewhere between a doctor and a nurse – was necessary to free up ‘busy doctors’ to deal with more serious cases.”

It seems the job has existed in the USA’s vastly inferior health service for about 50 years, indicating that this is yet another step in the Conservative Party’s plan to reduce the NHS to a similar shambles.

The announcement should be tripping more alarm bells in your head than real ones if there were fires all down the street you’re sitting in.

  • Hunt is saying that NHS patients no longer deserve to see a qualified doctor at the point of contact.
  • He is saying doctors will deal with “more serious” cases. How do they know whether your case is serious if they haven’t seen you and how could they trust the diagnosis of someone who isn’t a qualified doctor?
  • Furthermore, what does he mean by “more serious” cases? Is he obliquely referring to more of the creeping privatisation his party has introduced into our once-great health service? Does he mean “paying” cases?
  • The last time this government used people who weren’t doctors to provide medical opinions was on Work Capability Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance – the infamous “medical professionals” supplied by Atos (and now other companies as well) – and we all know how well that turned out, with hundreds of thousands of wrong decisions, many of them politically-motivated in order to meet targets plucked out of thin air. The cost of appeals has been enormous and many thousands of people have died because of the huge amount of stress and anxiety foisted on them by the system. Will this be the same?

“The associates will be paid £30,000 to £40,000 or about half the salary earned by doctors,” the newspaper states.

In other words, this is just another filthy attempt to save money at the cost of your health.

Words cannot describe the contempt in which you should hold Hunt and the Conservative Party.

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  1. ellie guest August 22, 2014 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Its OK we removed legal aid so the peasants cannot sue for incompetent diagnosis and totally botched operations #DavidCameron

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am - Reply

      That’s one of the first things I thought when I saw this story – that they’ve already moved to take away people’s ability to take legal action against botched medical procedures.

      • ellie guest August 22, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

        try this for next headline

        Hunt seeks to hire former Atos assessors to be his army of Physician associates ?

      • joanna may August 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

        Isn’t it a human Right to get proper medical treatment, also The US don’t live with EU rules, so how can the government use them as a template?

      • Thomas August 22, 2014 at 5:05 pm - Reply

        People could still sue as litigants in person, but they would be unlikely to get very far against trained lawyers.

  2. Mr.Angry August 22, 2014 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I truly believe he is insane just look into his eyes reminds me very much of a weasel which basically what he really is “Weasel in a suit” Think he needs to go and see a proper Doctor now before they all go as he surely needs one.

  3. tommaz jay August 22, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see the Tory party on the same endangered species list as the LibDem’s?

    Ps Love the new site

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply


    • jess August 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      This is worth a read regarding the ‘ConDems’ NHS ‘Policy’

      “Lib Dem supporters of the NHS have come up with simple, radical suggestions for saving it from privatisation. But the party leadership is trying to suppress their recommendations.”

      The reports it links to utterly condemn ConDem complicity in the NHS privatisation.

      The LibDem author claims that the Cleggers suppressed them.
      “In view of the Party’s attempt to suppress our alternative report we are seeking support to publish them ourselves. “

  4. amnesiaclinic August 22, 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Really clever – save a quarter of the cost of training and half the salary and give them an office in the nearest supermarket.

    Wake up everyone who voted conservative last time around. Sadly older folk who have always voted for them are unlikely to change their minds. But we keep trying!


    • joanna may August 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      I beg to differ on that, because, all these crappy policies are affecting their nearest and dearest, especially if the elderly are going to be relying on their younger relatives, who won’t be able to help, because they are struggling themselves.

  5. Maria August 22, 2014 at 10:44 am - Reply

    that’s nothing in our surgery, you get to see the nurse, not the GP the nurse. This is a step up from what I have been experiencing for some time and after ten years and after seeing many doctors they still can tell me why my neck swells up nearly at least once a month and every time it does why I feel ill.

  6. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) August 22, 2014 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Another disgusting Tory move to save money at the expense of safety for NHS patients! Of course they will use the same lower standards of expertise for themselves!

    This latest insult is just one more reason why we must vote them out in 2015

  7. Steve Kind August 22, 2014 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Hmmm – Not sure about this. It appears to be “old News” and may be as much a case of the Tories trying to take credit for practical arrangements that have long been operated by the more forward-thinking GP practices.

    My medical centre (in Leeds) has employed “Nurse Practitioners” (NP) for many years now, and TBF it works well for me as a regular visitor due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd). There are two in the practice that also has four or five fully qualified GPs. It is easier to get an appointment with them, and they have longer appointment slots. As well as doing general health and monitoring they can diagnose on a sort of triage level and can prescribe in straightforward cases. EG – if I think I have a chest infection (big deal for me) I can make an appointment with the NP who can do a thorough examination and diagnosis and prescribe antibiotics and a short course of steroids. They can also refer to second tier services (in my case, the Chest Clinic) in at least some cases They appear to have very rigorous guidelines as to what they can and can’t do – and on a couple of occasions when I’ve gone in with a problem they have taken an initial look and said “I need to get a doctor to look at this) and fetched a GP immediately – effectively “fast tracking” me to the GP who I would have waited longer to see if I had gone straight for a GP appointment. One important control though is that the practice states clearly that patients have a right to see a GP if they so wish – no question of making an initial appointment with the NP compulsory. TBH I suspect that *part* of the reason this system works for me is that there may be a fair sized group of people who insist on seeing the GP immediately- leading to less pressure on NP appointments than there otherwise might be.

    I have no idea how much they are paid!

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      If this is old news then I wonder why The Independent would be reporting it for the first time today.
      Also I don’t think you’re comparing like for like when you draw parallels between nurse practitioners and physician associates. I notice your NP may prescribe medicines – PAs would not be allowed to do so. Your NPs have fewer patients who get longer appointments – PAs would have the majority of patients to handle. I’m sure the list goes on.

      • Steve Kind August 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

        Sure you’re right Mike – I misphrased the “appears to be old news” – meant it more as a query than a statement. I’m just a bit concerned that a good, practical scheme like Nurse Practitioners will get tarred with the same brush as typically destructive Tory policies. Perhaps not so much a case of Tories claiming credit and more one of them taking a good idea and trashing it.

        • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

          In that case, I think you are right to be concerned!

  8. Stephen Paul Tamblin August 22, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

    If it was not for the health service this country would be in the s**t what the hell is the Torys trying to do thay are smug sons of bitches I am so angry this government will never run this country again I say it again camoran come to St Dennis cornwall lisin to what every body thinks of you and camoran and Obama are the biggest war mongers ever thay are inciting Arabs to fight each other a yes Scotland every body say yes yes yes yes

  9. Stephen Paul Tamblin August 22, 2014 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Blaming doctors l have been diagnosed with vascular dementia and hernia and depression and panic attacks and high clesterole I have a brilliant doctor I wouldn’t go to any were else it’s a plan of the Torys to get non experience asesers to dieicnosed people to save money for them self’s if the public vote them in again it is there fault personally I would blow the houses of parliament up and every body in it yes to Scotland yes yes yes

  10. aturtle05 August 22, 2014 at 11:41 am - Reply

    So, if you want to see a doctor, make an appointment for six months time, before you know you are going to be ill. If you need to see someone before then, go and see someone with less training than a vet!

    • Joan Edington August 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      I think you are being a bit harsh to vets, don’t you?

  11. ellie guest August 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    sadly it wont be any better if big nose “i love Maggie gets in” , we need a union to take power and do away with the gravy train politics

    • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      I agree. Nigel Farage would be a terrible Prime Minister. Do you really think he’s got a big nose?

      • ellie guest August 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

        try edwina milliban-stien’s honker dear

        and no i am not anti Semite but he is a Zionist Marxist and the worse possible leader short of a spawn of Blair

        • Mike Sivier August 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

          Couple of points:
          Ed doesn’t like Thatcher;
          How many Zionists do you know who go around eating bacon sandwiches? They’re not kosher, you know!
          Come to that, how many Zionists do you know who actively demand action to stop the Israeli government from attacking Palestinians, as Ed has done? Cameron is more of a Zionist than Miliband, viewed in that way.
          Worst possible leader would be a Conservative. After them would come any Tory Democrat (formerly Liberal Democrat). So just in the Parliament we have now, Ed would be several hundred down the list of worst possible leaders.

  12. Florence August 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    There has long been the use of experienced (note -experienced) nurse practitioners in consultant-led clinics set up for the monitoring and access of patients with long term conditions such as Crohns & Ulcerative colitis, where patients are encouraged to self-manage and seek help when they want it.

    This is a million miles away from what is happening in the NHS generally, and in this ridiculous proposition. A good example of current use of GP (not consultant) practice is the treatment of diabetes, when previously diagnosis was made by consultant. Now a done by GP on blood glucose, and immediately sent to the nurse, who will automatically prescribe drugs. Also, on the NHS out of hours service this week I was called back by a nurse, who was incapable of understanding the significance of the multiple existing health problems, and gave advice that could have killed.

    The problem as far as I can see is that the GPs were flattered into being “budget holders” and have been crushed under the cost & weight of the admin and need for tendering of services, and so on. It has produced worse results for patients, and GPs are no longer there to treat patients.

    We need an immediate return to the Primary Care group commissioning models, and of course, the removal of the requirement for tendering. GPs are, and never have been, up to that job.

    Your analogy of USA and Atos “models” is spot on. The denial not only of disability but of the importance of good health for all is now creeping through the whole of the system. I am very afraid.

    • joanna may August 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Nurses can’t prescribe medications only doctors are qualified to do that as far as I know. I would complain loudly if a nurse tried to prescribe my medications!

      • Florence August 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

        Nurses can & do prescribe. They are given limited authority about what they can prescribe, and in all cases the scripts are the responsibility of a medically qualified (GP or consultant) associate. When enabled, they can also prescribe procedures, and in some cases carry them out. In this category one includes blood tests, other lab work, and colonoscopies and endoscopies, ultra sounds of blood vessels in legs & feet. These specialist nurses can be fantastic. I recall one (Sister Ho) who was held in great esteem within the gastroenterology specialism, and was great with patients. This nurse had worked 20 years in her field, with one of the best consultants in the UK. He trained her.

        This is a million miles away from what Hunt is proposing. Standard nursing training now is to graduate level, and is not comparable in content to other medical qualifications. Two years “training” gives the same impression as Atos staff, who don’t have to have passed training, just taken it, so might of failed examination.

        And you’re right, I wouldn’t want any of those being the gate-keeper to better qualified diagnosticians, or prescribing beyond a set rote.

        The main problem with these paramedics, is that with limited training and limited prescribing, they will see everything through that prism They do not see, or ask about other things that may be outside their remit, or have enough depth or experience to seek information from patients.

        As one saying goes, if you only have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

  13. philipburdekin August 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    ATOS, is this stupid coalition out to murder all of us? ATOS employees don’t know THEIR a**e from THEIR elbows.
    God please help us and get rid of this a**ehole coalition ASAP .

  14. Maria August 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    that happened to me at the beginning of the year, I went in with an ear infection, the doctor took a swab then she said, I contact you when the results come in. so they surgery contacts me and say yes its an hearing infection sets up an appointment with the nurse, and leaves a not e for the nurse if this give that and so on, when they gave me my medication penicliilicin I didn’t trust to take it in the evening when I got it, so started in the morning, I took one dose which they said 10ml every four hours, I ended up in A & E it made me feel feint and gave me chest pains, they’d given me too much and I had a bad and rare allergic reaction to it which was made worse by them over prescribing the dose to double what it should have been, let this be a lesson, always demand a doctor like I do now.

  15. ellie guest August 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    you relay cannot handle being corrected can you

    • Mike Sivier August 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      And you really can’t resist making an embarrassment of yourself.
      For the benefit of others, Ellie was trying to tell me that Ed Miliband approves of Thatcher because, she said, he would govern like her if he became Prime Minister. This refers, of course, to her style of leadership and not to her political stance. Thatcher led from the front, telling her cabinet what she wanted and expecting them to produce the required results. Alternative leadership styles include the ‘consensus’ politics of John Major, who was more open to debate. So you were wrong on that, Ellie.
      Secondly, your reference to bacon being kosher these days is only half-right. There are kosher ‘bacon’ products available but you have absolutely no way of knowing whether Ed Miliband was eating one of them when he had his infamous bacon sandwich.
      Also, of course, it would not make a difference either way because Ed is neither Jewish nor Zionist. He is an atheist, as it happens, who has expressed respect for the religious choices of others including followers of Islam.
      This is all very well-documented fact that is in the public domain.
      I wonder why you insist on trying to spread falsehoods about this man.
      I do not intend to help you do so.

      • Mike Sivier August 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm - Reply

        Oh dear, it seems Ellie didn’t like my response and has fallen back on demands and insults.
        Tough luck, Ellie – get your facts right next time!

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