Reply to DoH responses to my concerns (and those of 850 others) over “naming and shaming” headlines

Dear Lindsey

Thank you for taking the trouble to cut and paste a response to the letter signed by 850 people expressing concerns about the “naming and shaming” headlines regarding delays in in cancer diagnoses, reported in a couple of newspapers on the 29th June 2014.

If you check email reference DE00000870296 to myself (alternative email address) you will find the body is identical to the response that you sent me on 18th July (ref: DE00000872042). I would have thought the fact that nearly a thousand people signed the letter may have led to a more considered response. I guess I was wrong. I find that insulting and patronising.

If Mr Hunt doesn’t believe in “naming and shaming” then why are details of a health policy that is yet to be finalised being leaked to media outlets with an anti-GP agenda? It matters not what is in the detail of such a policy when he knows that it will be spun a certain way. The fact that such leaks occur means that GPs cannot trust the collection of sensitive data as proposed.

Setting aside the impracticalities and costs of collecting data on suspected practicalities as well as the impact that this may have on referral rates and  consequently workload in secondary care (a fact that you have not acknowledged, I notice), I do feel that it may be better to discuss such policies with GP organisations and leaders. Unless of course there is an alternative political motive?

If my concerns are not to be considered by someone able to give a meaningful response, then please do not insult my intelligence by sending me another “off the shelf” or “cut and paste” reply. I will instead arrange for a constituent of Mr Hunt’s, in Farnham to pass copies of my correspondence to him in person.

I look forward to hearing from you, if you are able to be polite enough to actually give consideration to my questions:

1. Why leak details of a health policy that is not yet finalised knowing the response?

2. Does Mr Hunt acknowledge that the leaking of policies leads GPs to be suspicious of the leaking of any data on cancer referrals that is gathered?

3. Does Mr Hunt acknowledge that gathering such data will lead to an increase in referral rates, with no guarantee of increased diagnosis rate?

Yours sincerely



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