When we hear rhetoric we don't hear support

I took a stroll through the corridors of power this week, well, Portcullis House anyhow. My client was co-sponsoring a live forum in Parliament which had all been made possible by diabetes charity Silver Star, with an excellent array of speakers.

Earl Howe, Stephen Dorrell, John Healy, Keith Vaz, and media Dr Sarah Jarvis, amongst others, were on stage to offer their views on what the current health reforms will mean for community pharmacy and primary care - with a particular focus on the prevention, cure and long-term management of Type 2 diabetes in the UK.

As all eminent Earls should follow a good Lord, Howe has followed Darzi as minister for health and if it weren't for a re-write of the NHS constitution Lord Darzi's White Paper may have been a good springboard for Earl Howe to leap from.

All were very engaging and charismatic, granted - but I wanted to see the whites of Earl Howe's eyes and I can't help feeling left slightly short-changed as questions from the floor from pharmacists voicing their concerns about not being invited to the GP consortia party were swept aside by the rhetoric I can read, listen to or watch from my desk.

When the opportunity arose for a rallying cry of support I heard sound bites about being positive and it will be fair for all. And, when one particular question about pharmacists not being in the commissioning decision making process was mooted I heard: "Well neither are cardiologists, oncologists etc...But likewise they too will be referred to by GPs."

All well and good, but I'll only accept that response when I hear that cardiologists, oncologists, neurologists and urologists are making themselves available for competing services in public health or minor ailments. Because I believe that's still where the crux lies, and while support isn't obvious it will continue to be riddled with mistrust and confusion.          

Dean Enon