Friday, 30 April 2010

Defensive actions

This week I spoke with a doctor who told me that there are problems with the Tory position on extending GP surgery hours. If you extend the GP hours then you have to extend the hours of everyone who may be related to the GP's work. Are they going to increase the hours of consultants' secretaries or hospital laboratory technicians? I was given a long list in the space of a minute.

More concerning than this one small aspect of Tory policy is the idea of "defensive medicine". If one patient in a hundred falls seriously ill after they present with a few symptoms, then doctors have to bear in mind that they may be prosecuted if they are not seen to act properly.

I also spoke with a police officer this week and coincidentally his concerns were of a similar nature. Defensive policing means that actions have to be taken just in case something goes wrong. This week the arrest of Damian Green has been in the news. Would he have been arrested if the police had not been concerned about political correctness? A couple of weeks ago the leader of Manchester City Council was arrested for an alleged assault against his stepdaughter. He temporarily stood down from his position as leader. I don't know any details but it may be the case that the stepdaughter regrets her actions, the leader's life has been turned upside down and so too has that of the ruling body of a large city council. Has this happened because of defensive policing? This may not be the case in this instance but defensive policing is happening every day.

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