How many times can this Government get away with stating: “Oh, yes, that’s what we should have done?”

After the dust settles on almost every major policy change or initiative and giant holes in the original schemes are identified, Government ministers have a habit of displaying that rare gift – hindsight.

The latest example relates to the changes in GP contracts. Launched with a fanfare by the Government and roundly criticised by health experts for being half-baked, the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is now claiming that measures should have been introduced to ensure the money GPs make out of the new contracts is capped.

It comes after a survey discovered that since the contracts were launched in 2004 average pay has risen to over £100,000 (

Claims at the time that the proposed new contracts were arranged in such a way that spiralling salaries were almost inevitable were either dismissed or simply ignored. Now the Government – in hindsight – has acknowledged the holes that exist in the contracts.

Not surprisingly, her comments have sparked further controversy with the BMA who say she is denigrating GPs and the service they provide.

It is yet another fine mess the Government has managed to immerse itself in, which probably could have been avoided if it had listened more and been far less arrogant.


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