I thought the Zac Goldsmith MP tweet was amusing . Referring to PM speech on red tape and growth he said, "so the same PM whose dithering on airports will cost 3-6 years, is now enraged by the delays affecting big infrastructure projects".
Frankly, the idea that what holds back development, amongst other things, are equality impact assessments is ludicrous. This policy announcement has little to do with growth but much to do with keeping restive reactionaries happy and a smart Mail headline.
What has happened to the Government that was keen to promote citizens rights in local communities through legislative change? The right to challenge? The right to acquire assets? To request change? Putting power in the hands of local people and communities?
Now apparently sector activists in communities or environmentalists become obstacles to growth. Judicial Review is now dismissed as "time wasting" rather than the way we use the law to challenge the overweening might of the State and vested interests.
Surely we have a right to a debate on the real issues not spin? Apparently much of the increase in the use of judicial review is to do with asylum cases. In many cases we need more red tape not less. More safeguarding protection for children not less. More protection for our environment not less.
The proposal on equality audit is particularly sad; a move that delights the Daily Mail yet is unsubstantiated by any evidence that it hinders or harms development. It is a measure that if used sensibly can ensure policy makers take account of the effects of change on disadvantaged groups, on women and the disabled.
Whatever happened to evidence based policy making?
End of rant.
Last night was the Health Service Journal Annual Awards dinner at the Grosvenor Hotel. An unbelievable 1,400 people so packed to the rafters. Mainly NHS professionals but a good sprinkling of ACEVO members like Jeremy Hughes of Alzheimer, Paul Woodward of Sue Ryder and Prof. Philip Sugarman of St Andrews Health Care in Northamptonshire. I was one of the judges for the innovation awards and got to present the prize to the lucky winners; the St Levan Surgery! What I liked was the way they had developed a new system for seeing patients that does not involve the ridiculous phone call at 8.30am to be told you can't see Doctor till next week (so bugger off and be ill elsewhere please). A simple new system that all GP surgeries could implement, where you ring the surgery, explain the problem and the doctor rings you back the same day, talks you through the problem, decides what needs to be done (blood tests for example) or says come in now, and when you come in they are already primed about the problem. Efficient use of time and resources. Patient satisfaction tops and major cuts in visits to A&E. Simple.
Of course a good networking opportunity. I chatted to Jeremy Hunt on the new mandate and my old friend Clare Gerada from the RCGP. I was sat at dinner next to Norman Williams, The President of the Royal College of Surgeons; a charming and interesting man who I had met during the listening exercise and we swapped stories of amusing visits to No 10.
Late home, but as there were too many doctors present I was most sober!