The news that patients should be allowed to register with any GP practice is apparently supported by all the political parties. It suits the modern conception of people as solipsistic consumers, increasingly motivated by convenience and satisfaction.
Lawrence Buckman interviewed on Today this morning said most of what needed to be said. The Government’s enthusiasm for adding bureaucracy to the NHS might make it possible.
What Dr Buckman didn’t say was that a great strength of GPs presently is their level of local knowledge frequently built up over many years. In the 6 partners in my practice we share 79 years of experience working in South West Hackney. We have an in-depth knowledge of the NHS and voluntary sector services, which work well and which don’t, who to call where and when, who’s worth referring to, and who ought to be avoided. We know the streets and the estates where our patients live and work. We know the relationships between generations of local families.
We know that most of our patients’ experience of life, illness and suffering are bound up in their relationships with other people and with their environment. We know how to work as part of a large and complex team of primary care, social services, voluntary sector and hospital specialists. We are local experts for our local patients. If we are to look after anyone from anywhere we can’t be that kind of expert for everyone.