CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources

Open all hours? - The BMA clash with the government over plans for extended open hours

Easter 2008

From triple helix - Easter 2008 - Open all hours? - The BMA clash with the government over plans for extended open hours [p4]

PDF version
(Right click and choose 'save as...' to download a printable version of this article)

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. [1] 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 and more : 'So you get to see the doctor you want at the time you want and the hospital you want'. [2]

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, [3] 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. [4]

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. [5] On the other hand, a 'worker deserves his wages' [6] and accepting what is actually a back door pay cut will make giving cheerfully to the Lord somewhat harder! [7]

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. [8]


  5. Hebrews 13:5
  6. Luke 10:7
  7. 2 Corinthians 9:7
  8. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Article written by Rachael Pickering

More from triple helix: Easter 2008

  • Time for change - Reducing the upper abortion limit
  • Stem Cell Delusions - The government juggernaut rolls on
  • Open all hours? - The BMA clash with the government over plans for extended open hours
  • Opt-out or opt-in? - Organ donation policy
  • Abortion - Misinformation in high places
  • Act Justly
  • Teaching ethics
  • Special study modules in Christian medical ethics
  • Juniors' Forum - Let's communicate
  • A harmless flutter? - Gambling
  • I miss the sound of the wind
  • Parish nursing
  • Singing the life - The story of a family in the shadow of cancer (Book Review)
  • Can you believe in God and Evolution? - A Guide for the Perplexed (Book Review)
  • Adam – God's Beloved (Book Review)
  • Douthwaite of the Double Dragon (Book Review)
  • The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness (Book Review)
  • Approaching the End - A theological exploration of death and dying (Book Review)
  • The Traveller's Good Health Guide (Book Review)
  • The Shepherd is my Lord - A doctor reflects on the twenty-third psalm (Book Review
  • 12 Disciples - Young People's Stories of Crisis and Faith (Book Review)
  • Caring for Dying People of Different Faiths (Book Review)
  • Suffering and Healing in America - An American doctor's view from outside (Book Review)
  • Infertility: The silent and unseen issue (Book Review)
  • Indian summer
  • Eutychus
  • Letters
  • Final Thoughts - Jack Bauer Medicine?
  • Christian Medical Fellowship:
    uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
    © 2018 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
    Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
    Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd, Technical: ctrlcube