The former Conservative mayor of Kensington and Chelsea is leading a rescue strategy for Andrew Lansley’s health reforms. In a leaked email, NHS doctor Jonathan Munday told the heads of GP consortia that the political climate against reforms from which they stand to profit “is getting worse by the day”.
Dr. Munday, who lists “freemasonry” and “Conservative politics” as interests on his website, chairs the £80 million/year Victoria Commissioning Consortium. His memo outlines a strategy to defend NHS restructuring where doctors “jointly write an open letter to Mr Cameron via the Times, the Telegraph, the Mail and the Today programme supporting the reforms”.
The most enlightening element of the leak is not the text of the letter to David Cameron but a preamble which never mentions patients care once, addressing instead the dynamics between competing “vested interests” in the medical establishment:
I am now getting seriously worried that the political pressure on Lansley is such that the government may abort GP commissioning entirely or, almost worse, may so water it down and constrain it that GP consortia will have the worst of all worlds: a lot of effort, political responsibility for any cuts but no ability to wrest initiatives or make needed reforms.
Having clarified where he stands on making “a lot of effort”, he continues:
I am especially worried that the government may leave Consortia, as at present, sub-committees of retained PCT Clusters. I feel that GP consortia, who have most to lose from the Press listening to vested interests in the rest of the medical establishment, must take some urgent action to take back the political initiative within the “pause” and to enable the government to proceed with the reforms with the maximum flexibility and independence for GP consortia.
Munday concludes by pleading (vainly) “I must please ask you to respect the privacy of this letter, whether you are in favour or not.”
It seems not all GPs share his zeal for the marketisation of the NHS.