NHS Reform Bill under Pressure

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The Royal College of GPs has now called for the Health Bill to be scrapped.

The college, which represents 34,000 GPs in England, said the overhaul had to be stopped because it threatened “irreparable damage” to the care of patients. The college has said it could no longer work with the Government on the bill because its concerns over competition and bureaucracy have not been addressed.

A Health Minister has said he was “baffled” by the RCGP’s criticisms. The proposed changes include making it clear that the Health Secretary would retain ultimate control over the NHS and strengthening the requirement of the regulator to ensure the different providers competing for patients also work together to provide a seamless service. But the RCGP said that this did not go far enough and it was now time for the whole Bill to be withdrawn. This follows a similar call by the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives.

It is significant because GPs are widely thought of as one of the main beneficiaries of the reform as they would get more control over how NHS funds are spent. RCGP chairman Dr Clare Gerada said: “Patients will find their care will be fragmented, it will be on different sites, it won’t join up, it will be difficult to hand over care and it will be phenomenally expensive to keep track of all the competing parts of the NHS”.

Julie Crossley, Clinical Negligence Lawyer at Ashtons Legal, says: “Clearly the fact that another college of medical professionals are raising their concerns about this reform is worrying, and will have an impact on patient care, communication between different specialisms and lack of continuity and this may lead to delays rather than speeding up the system.”


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