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21-07-2011 | Article

Half of GPs still oppose reforms



Half of GPs are still opposed to the government's proposed reforms of the NHS in England, a new RCGP survey suggests.

Findings of the poll of 500 RCGP members, unveiled by Pulse and GP magazines, show that 20% "strongly oppose" and a further 30% "oppose" the direction of the reforms.

A quarter said they did support the aims of the reforms, while 4% strongly support them.

But 85% said they are not reassured by recent revisions drawn up by ministers in response to the NHS Future Forum recommendations.

Despite government reassurances to the contrary, four-fifths of GPs believe the Bill will lead to increased involvement of the private sector in the NHS, while over two-thirds do not believe it will reduce bureaucracy.

Moreover, 55% do not agree that the new-style clinical commissioning groups will lead to a patient-led NHS, 48% do not believe they will improve patient outcomes and 59% do not agree that they will improve patient choice.

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada commented: "Unpicking the data, GPs don't think this bill is going to create a patient-led NHS, they don't think it's going to increase autonomy, they don't think it's going to improve patient care and they don't think it's going to reduce health inequalities."

But Chair of the National Association of Primary Care Dr Johnny Marshall told Pulse that despite recent concerns over extra bureaucracy introduced with the Bill revisions, "GPs I have spoken to are convinced that clinical commissioning is absolutely the right direction of travel to get the best services locally and are getting on with making it work".

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price