The timing of a piece in the Mail Online is surely not a coincidence. We learn that "An initiative to improve the health of the long-term unemployed is to be launched by Emma Harrison, founder of the A4e welfare-to-work organisation, and John Bird, who set up the Big Issue. The joint venture will establish 'wellness centres' staffed with GPs throughout the 250 A4e branches." In case we weren't aware of next Tuesday's TV programme, the piece goes on:
"Harrison, who will star in the Channel 4 programme Who Knows Best: Getting A Job on Tuesday, said: 'There is a correlation between poor health and people in the subsistence culture, the dispossessed and longterm unemployed.'" The timing, however, is a minor issue. What is much more important is this incursion into yet another aspect of people's lives. Everyone has access to a GP, and currently has the freedom to choose when and whether to consult one and seek medical advice. A4e now plan to erode that freedom.