Buckman galvanises LMCs and earns two standing ovations

In a maiden address as chairman of the GPC, Dr Laurence Buckman galvanised colleagues at the opening of the annual conference of the LMCs.

Focusing throughout on the government as the current arch enemy of general practice he protested against the ‘assault on GPs everywhere'.

Dr Buckman, reminded collegues that they had delivered on their side of the deal with government; on enhanced services, the quality framework, enhanced and additional services and inefficiency gains.

But he minced no words in identifying the government's own dishonesty and broken promises to GPs on MPIG, premises, enhanced services, equitable PMS returns and to impose the contract only in a national emergency.

Time and again he accused the government of applying force to get its own way. ‘You can be hung or shot,' was the choice the government offered the profession on extended hours, he said.

With a regretful nod to the commercialisation of healthcare, he rounded on the government for commercialising the health service by stealth, culminating in the use of statements such as ‘the NHS is a system and not a service.

‘I do not think the public voted for a commercial health service at the last election,' he challenged them.

Rounding up patients as allies, Dr Buckman launched a blistering attack on the commercialisation of the health service and called on the government to make it up to general practice and invest in GP premises.

But Dr Buckman reserved his fiercest irk for the polyclinics, now being forced on London and soon to spread to the rest of England.

He reminded GPs, if they needed the reminder, that the King's Fund recently reported that there was very little evidence for these new structures.

‘No doubt they will be ignored by government who will continue along its evidence-free path,' he said.

He was able to tell delegates that the petition to number 10 had been signed by 1,236,085 patients who wanted to help save their surgeries from polyclinics.

Delegated loved him and they loved his address. He toned down his traditional garish tie on the advice of the style guru for a TV friendly blue, but he did not tone down his speech to match.

The delegates gave him not one but two standing ovations, the second one lasting for one-and-a-half minutes. A triumph of a start for a leader who only got the job by default.


Blog: Buckman nobbled by style police but retains the rough edges  






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