New year. New hope. The same government

And there lies the problem. We have an incompetent, arrogant and self-seeking group in charge.

Over the past 10 years they have demonstrated a supreme ability to interfere in things they do not understand and make detailed plans in areas where they have little expertise.

To my mind, Blair was good at being popular and little else, mostly choosing what was convenient over what was prudent. Gordon Brown appears to have inherited Blair's control-freak mentality, without the charisma. But, we still have a democracy, as long as everyone does what the government decides, because 'It's the right thing to do'. (How I hate that patronising, self-justifying sentence from politicians.)

This government is currently ruining the NHS, making it cumbersome and bureaucratic. It seems to have a death wish for general practice. I'm sure its intentions are good, but the plans are appallingly thought through. Anyone with primary care experience knew what would happen when the government took over out-of-hours care, having valued it at just £6,000 per year per GP. It got what it deserved: an inefficient and expensive out-of-hours service.

Its command and control approach is now enervating GPs by burdening us with massive organisational and administrative tasks instead of minimising them so we can spend more time with the patients.

The government is now hell-bent on imposing extended opening, which will exhaust and exasperate GPs and their staff.

While repeatedly losing large amounts of confidential personal information it still insists patients will have to opt out of having their medical details placed on the spine.

It wants GPs to take on work previously performed by hospitals, help run primary care organisations and practice-based commissioning and engage in appraisal and revalidation, while improving access times.

So far this government has damaged the economy, personal confidentiality, the control of foot and mouth, the housing market, the banking system and Iraq, and are trying their hardest to do the same to the NHS, especially primary care.

Does this augur well for the NHS this year? I leave you to decide because I couldn't possibly comment. It would be unprintable.

Dr Lancelot is a GP from Lancashire. Email him at GPcolumnists@haymarket.com.

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