Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Why giving GPs £80 billion worries me – straight from a horse’s mouth..

Opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill is becoming old news and even the Royal College of GPs has offered an olive branch to the government in an attempt to make the inevitable reforms somehow work.
Despite ongoing bewilderment as to how legislation is being implemented before it reaches the statute books, the reforms are well under way.  Some GP’s are knee deep in commissioning plans, primary care trusts have accepted their fate as they shed staff and hospital trusts face a confusing and cash strapped future.

A BBC interview with an apparent supporter of the Bill polarised all my fears about these changes in the space of just three minutes this evening. As I was listening to the interview with Dr Rishabh Prasad, a GP from a Leicester medical centre, for just a few moments I was nearly swayed into thinking that perhaps giving GPs a very large slice of the NHS cake could work. The enthusiastic doctor explained how he believed that the reforms could promote innovation and how frustrated he had been previously in trying to set up a local study into deep vein thrombosis. But then he admitted that patients may not be happy with the changes that GPs’ new responsibilities may bring

The BBC health correspondent mentioned in her report that practices were already having to provide extra cover to free up GP time for commissioning projects. Dr Prasad then continued (and I quote) ‘As we pull GPs away from front line clinical work, there may be a disruption of service, not less of a service, but you may not be able to see the doctor you want or you normally see because they will be doing other things… a GP I can’t be in two places at once… I can’t be chairing some meeting and be here seeing patients. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 years’

Mmm, chairing some meeting or seeing patients? – I know how I would rather my GP spent his or her time.

I do agree with Dr Prasad on one point though.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 years. Very interesting.


Chairman Chegwin said...

Here we go with the excuses....whenever anything goes wrong it's never the GPs' fault. What DO GPs believe in? Let's see....

They want the state to pay their salaries (from national taxation - that's money from OUR pockets) and invest in primary care. But they don't want the Government to control how the money they are given is spent.

They have to be dragged kicking and screaming to any dialogue on supplying out of hours services.

They continually over prescribe and as a consequence the NHS drugs bill has ballooned in recent years.

They don't like the development of new private sector providers offering care to NHS patients. Unless they can have a slice of it....

They don't want to be employed by the state - instead they defend their right to earn a lot of money from the market in health services.

The GP representative bodies (BMA/RCGP - both of whom I regard as a joke) continually slag off the Government of the Day's attempts at reform then demand that their views are heard and their ultimatums met.

I could go on....

I might have more sympathy with GPs if we had a slick system of primary care in this country, operated by people with public rather than self service in mind.

So, overall, yes I agree that giving them a huge slice of the NHS budget is a huge mistake!

Finchers Consulting said...

I just don't understand Lansley's obsession with GPs. When I worked on an NHS service improvement project, the stroke consultants were amazing - giving their time out of hours and always going the extra mile for nothing in return. GPs wouldn't come to a meeting, or review any plans without being paid - I was absolutely disgusted with them. I am very lucky and have a great GP in a well run practice. They hate the Bill and several will probably take early retirement

Chairman Chegwin said...

It's bad to generalise, of course - but GPs have attained such an exulted (and in my view thoroughly undeserved) status in the NHS and I have no idea why successive governments have shyed away from taking them on. The last (current) GP contract was virtually extortion on their part and the government simply signed it off.

At the end of the day, they are generalists and gatekeepers. The real value in the NHS is elsewhere....

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