Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Fireworks & GPs

Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, is not going ahead with the annual, New Year firework display for the 2nd year in a row, causing a lot of consternation among some sections of the population.

The hoi polloi is asking why he's allowing mass gatherings at football matches and Diwali celebrations and yet not allowing the firework display. The accusation is one of hypocrisy.

The simple answer is that he can't go against government policy, which is to allow mass gatherings, as he has no power, to my knowledge, over government policy. He does, however, have power over whether the annual firework display is held or not, as he holds the budget. If people choose to gather in Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve or at Diwali gatherings, then he can't actually stop them, but he can give them fewer reasons to congregate on New Year's Eve by not holding the firework display - which is a sensible strategy in the current circumstances.

People seem not to know the limits of the Mayor's powers. Either that, or they just want to have a go at him, which is the case with the right wing press' coverage, which simply calls him a hypocrite and kill-joy without explaining his reasoning, or the limits on his powers. It's as if they're purposely stirring things up - which they frequently do.

Similarly, the government and the right wing press has launched a campaign to vilify GPs by demanding more face-to-face appointments at a time when the number of GPs is declining and they're under increasing pressure. 

GP's conducting telephone consultations can get through more appointments than they could if the appointments were all face-to-face. A telephone consultation determines whether a face-to-face consultation is even necessary. Increasing face-to-to face appointments would therefore logically result in fewer overall appointments, not more, and we must not forget that we are losing GPs in their droves, which puts even greater pressure on those who remain. 

It's no wonder the BMJ has told GPs to ignore Savid Javid's threat to name and shame those surgeries that don't obey his stupid, counterproductive and populist diktat. The right wing press has successfully and successively turned their readers against firemen, the police, the BBC, judges, the RNLI, the National Trust and it's now the turn of GPs to take the blame.

It seems lost on Javid that the telephone consultation process was brought in by his predecessor, on the advice of the NHS, specifically to increase the number of consultations, as well as reduce the potential for infection from Covid in surgeries, the level of which is now going through the roof again because we're all mixing more and not wearing masks - which, for some inexplicable reason, is current government policy - the more infections the greater the chance of breakthrough viruses. It's not as if wearing a mask is a great imposition on one's freedom.

Meanwhile, senior NHS staff are urging the government to implement the so-called Plan B immediately, but Boris' spokesperson says he has; "Absolutely no plan to implement Plan B." We keep being told that lessons have been learned, but it appears not. 

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