Skip to main content

20-03-2012 | Article

GP leaders look to cooperate on Bill


UK Parliament News – Health and Social Care Bill

GP leaders have indicated they will cooperate with the government now that the Health and Social Care Bill has finally been passed - and have urged doctors to get involved and shape implementation of the reforms. The Bill was debated fiercely right up to the final hour yesterday, with the last vote cast giving the government a majority of 88.

In a statement today, BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum said he was "worried and saddened" that the Bill had been passed, but called on doctors to look to the future and do what they can to "limit its more damaging aspects". He added: "As clinicians directly involved in providing care in the NHS, there will still be opportunities to try and temper some of the worst potential consequences of the legislation."

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada told the Mirror that the College was "of course disappointed" but that GPs "will roll their sleeves up and get the job done no matter what" (click here).

Speaking to GP News, NHS Alliance Chair Dr Michael Dixon said his first reaction was "a sense of relief that at least we're into implementation and away from a heated debate", adding that it is now "absolutely crucial" for clinicians to "step up to the plate".

And he said he believed GPs would cooperate. "My reading from speaking to GPs up and down the country is that, while the majority are 'anti' the Bill, now the debate is over, they are pragmatists and will recognise that patients will come first and, I hope, that the changes will give them extraordinary potential to improve local services."

Dr Dixon welcomed the responses from Dr Meldrum and Dr Gerada. "It would be great for doctors to be working together and leading the reforms rather than being steamrollered by them," he said. "By CCGs having autonomy they can prevent what [the BMA, RCGP] fear - the privatisation, the competition, the fragmentation of services. If we ensure the CCGs are sovereign and local commissioners and patients are in the driving seat then the amount of privatisation that occurs will be up to them."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price