Chris Lancelot: A government invitation we should not ignore

One of the most refreshing things about the new government is its total absence of knee-jerk reactions. There is an air of thoughtfulness and consideration about its responses, singularly missing from the previous administration.

The GP Record, by Fran Orford
The GP Record, by Fran Orford

This is perhaps most evident in the way ministers have treated revalidation ('we shouldn't rush these important decisions') and the summary care record ('don't throw the baby out with the bath water'). I don't know whether it is a feature of coalition governments in general, or this particular coalition, or whether it is just a welcome change from the snooping, intrusive and control-freak behaviour of the previous administration. Whatever the reason, let us be glad that it is happening. Coalitions being what they are, this happy state of affairs may not last long.

One feature of the new government particularly appeals to me, and that is its willingness to remove unnecessary red tape. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both said they want to repeal superfluous legislation, and indeed have asked members of the public to write in with suggestions.

What an opportunity - especially for the NHS. There are so many unnecessary, time-wasting regulations which get in our way.

Why not start by putting the results of criminal record checks online, with each person being given a private reference number? Now all new employers could perform an instant yet confidential criminal record check instead of the repeated, time-wasting vetting currently necessary.

Then there is the problem of multiple standards' agencies: the GMC, PCTs and the Care Quality Commission. It is expensive to run multiple agencies with duplicate functions, and time-consuming, exhausting and costly for the clinicians. Surely a single standards' organisation should be enough?

Finally, why revalidate all doctors repeatedly? The procedure is intrusive, stressful and a waste of time. Why not target doctors whose behaviour is causing concern, plus a random smattering of others?

For too long the NHS has been dogged by interfering, wasteful over-management. Now we have an open invitation to identify and tackle NHS inefficiency. Don't miss the opportunity.

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