Doctor backs MP’s call to ramp up GP power

PUBLISHED: 11:56 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 25 August 2010

A DOCTOR has spoken out in support of the most radical shake up of the NHS since its creation 62 years ago.

A DOCTOR has spoken out in support of the most radical shake up of the NHS since its creation 62 years ago.

On Monday, health secretary Andrew Lansley announced plans to abolish Primary Care Trusts and hand over responsibility for £80 billion of health spending to GPs. Under the current system, PCTSs take responsibility for commissioning the care of each patient, deciding where and how they are treated as well as setting hospital budgets.

A GP who trained at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup and now works for Croydon PCT, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I think this presents GPs with an increased opportunity to improve patient care. It is refreshing that GPs are being given the opportunity to take control of service provision for their patients, whom they know best. Patients prefer care closer to home and with GPs who they've known for years."

If the £20 billion cost-saving proposals get the go ahead from MPs, the country's 35,000 GPs will have to be grouped together into 500 consortiums by 2013.

The GP added: "GPs deal with budgets and finances already.

"We will of course need support from our colleagues, formerly employed by the PCTs, and GP training should be changed to reflect these new responsibilities.

"The aim of GP surgeries is not solely to make money, it is to provide a service for the local population. The drugs prescribed will be done on clinical need. The aim is to improve the level of care by scrapping arbitrary targets and instead using clinical measures."

Under the new system, consortia may employ outside firms to help them commission care for patients which has led to unions such as Unite claiming it would lead to privatisation by the back door.

A spokesperson for Bexley PCT said: "It is encouraging the health White Paper builds on work that Bexley has been developing under practice based commissioning and other key areas. Local GPs already lead services locally, and this will give them an even greater opportunity to influence changes in the way healthcare is delivered in the future. It emphasises the need for efficiency savings. This is something we do well at Bexley Care Trust. We are already a lean and efficient organisation. We are also looking forward to working more closely with our local authority colleagues. This joint working will enable us to deliver high quality, locally appropriate care across the whole range of public sector services as we progress towards the 2013 deadline.

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