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14-02-2012 | Article

Leading GP commissioner slams Bill

Abstract

BMJ 2012; 344: e998

A leading GP commissioner who initially supported Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms has called on the Health Secretary to "get rid" of the Health and Social Care Bill, claiming that primary care clinicians have been duped by the government's plans.

Writing in the BMJ, Cambridgeshire GP Dr David Bailey says that GPs were "set up" by the government's pledge to let them run a newly liberated NHS, when in reality they were being expected to take over the responsibility and work of PCTs - without the necessary skills and time.

Dr Bailey is a former Chair of the Local Medical Committee and former Vice Chair of the Local Commissioning Group in an area he describes as "Lansley's backyard".

He says that his local PCT was among the first to recognise that radical changes were needed to improve efficiency in the NHS, and achieved results by improving collaboration between primary and secondary care clinicians and managers, with GPs taking the lead. Indeed, they met with Andrew Lansley to explain how their approaches were proving successful. These GPs fell in line with Lansley's reforms "because we were already leaders", he says.

But "then we began to understand the proposed legislation", Dr Bailey writes, with PCTs to be abolished and "pathways to become illegal, sacrificed to 'any willing provider' who would trample across them, waving competition legislation on behalf of their shareholders".

Dr Bailey likens the current situation of NHS doctors to that of a householder who has "recklessly allowed his plausible but incompetent builder to bash out a load-bearing wall to improve the view, but instead has brought the whole edifice to the point of collapse".

"Let us put down the sledgehammer, get rid of the Bill, and bring in a structural engineer to stabilise our finest institution," he concludes.

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

By Caroline Price