Zeff wrote:It strikes me as a very confrontational approach
It certainly is. The real question is whether this confrontation is deliberate - perhaps an attempt to set the public against GPs - or a diversion for the press (the DM particularly) to cover over negative stories about underfunding.
Apparently, the Government have decided what hours surgeries need to keep - end of story. Anyone who doesn't comply might not get paid properly. There's also an underlying assumption that there are enough GPs.
There seems to be no dispensation for single-handed practices - I'm sure lone GPs will not appreciate being told to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Maybe May and Hunt think this is acceptable. However, I strongly suspect many will already be working long hours. Of course there aren't enough GPs; Hunt has already admitted that (even though it's still not quite clear from where he's going to magic the 5,000 in 2020.
Another point is that GPs can see patients at their own discretion or as directed by the government. Patient's demands presumably aren't as important in a free universal service (or a private one which limits their choices) as the only sanction patients have is to go to another doctor. The non-super-rich can't go anywhere. So there must be a compromise between the Government and the doctors. Generally, GPs provide an out-of-hours service as they think is appropriate. This Government seems to want local doctors to have little say in what hours they work and simply obey the government or suffer loss of pay and resources.
There's a long story about GPs and OOH in England that I don't think happened in Scotland but this may well result in private GPs getting more business: you do have to wonder if that is May's whole point or a nice additional benefit...
Many conflicts with doctors in the NHS certainly appear UKGov induced to me.
All the surgeries in my area are very good though. Some surgeries seem to be very badly run and have GPs with dubious ability and an apparently poor approach to patient care but those problems aren't likely to be solved with this Government's approach or its "solutions".
It seems that the Government have failed to even understand the problem, never mind find an appropriate solution.
Just my view. I live in Scotland.