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MTAS - still the fault of the doctors

08 May 2007 - Bruno Prior

Patricia Hewitt, interviewed on News 24 on Saturday morning, explained that she should not take responsibility for the MTAS fiasco because the new system had been widely consulted and widely supported prior to deployment. In other words, doctors liked the look of the system, and if they didn't tell her she'd got it wrong, whose fault was that?

I don't know about consultation on MTAS. But I do know about consultation in my field (energy and the environment). It serves only one purpose - to be able to say that the government has "listened" (and is therefore not to blame when the ideas turn out to be bad) before pressing ahead anyway with their plans. Consultations in our sector are so frequent, so voluminous, and so replete with bad ideas, that it is impossible to read them all, let alone respond in detail to everything that is wrong with them. Only the big companies, pressure groups, and public organisations have the resources to do that, and so this becomes just another way in which policy is steered in the direction of vested interests - interests that are already given preferential access to the corridors of power, compared to individuals and smaller businesses. 

Their recent consultation on the waste strategy for England contained over 60 questions, every one a detailed technical question predicated on a complete misapprehension of the fundamental principles. Waste policy is not 60 questions complicated. If you are asking a lot of questions, it is a sign, like a young child pestering its parent, that you probably don't have a strong grasp of the fundamentals. And sure enough, events are now demonstrating that they haven't got a clue about rubbish.

So I have a question for doctors. What was the consultation on MTAS really like? Did you see the proposals? Did you respond personally or through some representative body? If through a body like the BMA, did they accurately represent your views? Were you as supportive as Hewitt says? Or is she just wriggling like a hooked fish?

Topics: Health
Organisations: UK DoH

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