River Wissey Lovell Fuller


July 2008

Dr Ian looks with concern at plans to replace local GP surgeries with massive Poly-clinics

Save Our Surgery (update)

Last month, in the Feltwell and Methwold magazines, I wrote about the dangers to local GP surgeries caused by the government's plans to force GPs into poyclinics. You will have read about these matters in the newspapers and may have signed a BMA petition at your GP surgery. I encouraged patients to write to our MP with their concerns and those who did have received a reply from Christopher Fraser in which he makes it obvious that he and his colleagues are taking this matter extremely seriously and he ends up by saying that he will fight these plans "to save the family doctor service from Gordon Brown's NHS cuts".

If you want to read about the Conservatives' plans for the NHS, go to www.conservatives.com and look for "The patient will see you now, Doctor". Some Primary Care Trusts are reporting to the General Medical Council GPs whom they accuse of unprofessional conduct for sharing their concerns about polyclinics with the patients and other Primary Care Trusts have started bullying GPs to leave their surgeries and move into polyclinics by threatening to declare their surgeries unfit for purpose, not conforming with Health and Safety regulations, etc. In the face of this, the Government is accusing the British Medical Association, who arranged the recent campaign and petition, of "hysteria and telling lies". Big brother is in full swing!

About 5 years ago, I expressed great concern about the £12 to £20 billion national database of patient records. When the time comes, your records will be "uploaded" into the database unless you state that you will not allow this. (In the government agenda, this process must, of course, happen before the advent of polyclinics, as these would require the centralisation of medical histories. I have always had extreme concerns about the security of patient confidentiality in the database and my suggestion that, for the first 12 months, only Government officials and their families should be included in the database to test its security has fallen upon deaf ears. Also, I have always believed that this government would be incapable of creating such a computer database which would be the largest non-military database in the world.

The good new is that Accenture, one of the first computer companies to be involved, pulled out in 2006, many other companies have steered well clear of the doomed project and Fujitsu's £896 million contract has just been terminated after months of negotiations had broken down. Fears over security of patient information were paramount in this decision. The Government now acknowledges that the scheme is at least six years behind schedule. This gives us all plenty of time to refuse to have our medical records uploaded. Also, such refusal will help to blow the superclinic idea out of the water. If you wish to know more about opting out, ring 01494 882458 or visit www.thebigoptout.org. You will need to be persistent in the face of opposition but it can be done.

Conundrum of the month:

You visit the garden centre, buy a new pot, a sack of growing medium, two pot roses, a small conifer and a nasty little piece of trailing ivy. You return home and plant it all up in the pot - beautiful! (except for the ivy!). Put the pot in your yard, well away from any real garden, water and feed it well and look at it again in three months. What have you got? Two small roses going a bit straggly, a small conifer, half an acre of nasty ivy covering the ground and climbing eight feet up the wall, six bluebells and a small piece of bindweed. Where did they come from? I may have the answer - read on and all will be revealed.

June is a good month for me in the garden. At the beginning of the month, I apply for managerial permission to "deal with" the remains of the bluebells which are defacing the flower beds. Sometimes, I have to apply on several occasions for this permission but, generally speaking, it is granted around the middle of the month. The certificate issued allows me to pull up the dead stalks to prevent seeding and to remove the soggy, manky heap of green vegetation. Now, while doing this job, I take the opportunity of removing all the weeds, such as bindweed, which have been sheltering under the bluebells since the early Spring. Weeding involves some deep digging and forking around the bluebells and one unfortunate side-effect is that the bluebell bulbs often become loose. So, when I pull on the greenery, it is not unknown for some bluebell bulbs to come up as well - ah well! Now, my compost heap is a temple. It does not receive perennial weeds, anything which contains seeds and, most definitely, not bluebell bulbs, stalks or bindweed! All such garden waste is bagged up and taken to the Crimplesham recycling centre where I tip it all into the garden waste skip. Then what? I suspect that all the garden waste from the recycling centres is collected and converted into bags of compost, or growing medium. Could it be that, when buying the bag of growing medium from the garden centre, I am purchasing my old bluebell bits and segments of convolvulus root, poorly treated and ready to grow? No wonder I have nightmares!

If anyone knows about these things, could they let me know? Management always insists that I buy "proper" compost (Levington, Bowers etc) and certainly no supermarket own brand product, so we should be OK. However, if you look at some of the low peat varieties, there does seem to be a great deal of wood chip, black plastic and assorted vegetation, so who knows?

Best wishes to you all

Ian G. Nisbet

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