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02-01-2012 | Article

RCGP urges Bill survey response



The RCGP has written to all its members calling once more for their views on the Health and Social Care Bill.

GPs are urged to respond to the short online survey by this Friday, 6 January.

In a letter to members, RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada writes: "We have reached a critical moment in the College's work to take forward our profession's concerns about the Heath and Social Care Bill.

"When we look back in years to come, I want there to be no misunderstanding of the position the College has taken or criticism that we did not do enough to inform and engage members or to protect patients and the NHS."

Dr Gerada explains that, although the College has not so far opposed the Bill outright, evidence brought to light as the legislation progressed has "deepened our concerns".

These include a substantial reduction in funding per head of the population, as well as the potential for commissioning support to be dominated by large commercial providers.

"As a profession we must now decide on a way forward which reflects our unique understanding of how these changes will impact on the health system," Dr Gerada continues.

Acknowledging that calling for the Bill to be withdrawn is not guaranteed to succeed, Dr Gerada nonetheless says that "stopping the Bill now, placing GPs in the majority of boards of the PCT Clusters/NHS Commissioning Board outposts and focusing on addressing the serious financial crises facing the NHS, is the safest way forward for patients and communities".

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By Caroline Price