From triple helix - Easter 2008 - Open all hours? - The BMA clash with the government over plans for extended open hours [p4]
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The New Year kicked off with an announcement of yet another NHS shake-up. In a speech pegged around the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the NHS, Gordon Brown revealed that the nation's rarely-seen-in-the-NHS, healthy citizens are to be encouraged to see the doctor anyway, in order to prevent them turning into sick, expensive patients.  The Prime Minister committed the NHS to a screening programme to rival the private sector: 'the health service has really got to change...from being the curative service... to being also a preventative service'. And it's going to be less www.nhs.uk and more www.my-nhs.uk : 'So you get to see the doctor you want at the time you want and the hospital you want'. 
The Prime Minister also hinted that he would make getting to see the doctor a whole lot easier. And sure enough, following up on Labour's pre-election-that-never-was promise,  a plan to get GPs to work evenings and Saturdays for no extra pay was unveiled in early February. The BMA declared it a loselose situation for GPs – accept Plan A or have Plan B (an even worse financial deal) imposed on you – but Health Secretary Alan Johnson went over their heads and appealed direct to every GP partner in the land. 
How then should we assess this situation? We could look at things financially. This proposal could make a huge dent in many CMF members' wallets. Should that matter though? After all, Christians are not meant to be motivated by money.  On the other hand, a 'worker deserves his wages'  and accepting what is actually a back door pay cut will make giving cheerfully to the Lord somewhat harder! 
The deeper approach is to ask why the government feels the need to drive through these screening and opening hours measures. Gordon Brown's speech provides our answer: he is doing all this to 'meet the rising expectations of the British people'. Consumerism – the desire to 'have it perfect' with a perfect service and perfect health – is the driving force behind this and all other recent NHS initiatives.
What then should we do? We should pray for a lasting solution for the NHS. Pray for the healing of our nation from the sickness of consumerism.