UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Vested interests speak out in favour of Con Dem NHS reforms

In a letter to yesterday’s Daily Telegraph a number GPs belonging to the pro-Commissioning NHS Alliance criticised the BMA for its stand against the Government’s Health Bill. The group say the BMA does not speak for the majority of General Practioners while ignoring the fact that NHS Alliance itself is an elite group representing some commissioners. The main thrust of the letter is that if the bill is derailed then there is a real threat to the future of the NHS. The only justification for the Bill presented by this group is the perception that clinical leadership will spearhead commissioning: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/9045518/Clinical-leadership.html

But as Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of General Practioners points out the Bill proposes far more fundamental changes to the provision of health care than merely giving clinicians a greater say in commissioning.

The risk to the NHS is far greater if the Bill becomes law. The bill will require competition to be the driving force in provision of health care. Cost will become the bottom line with quality very much secondary. The Bill is simply a way of opening the health service to the private sector, with every service open to 'Any Qualified Provider. In addition NHS Trusts will be able to earn 49% of their income from private patients. This will lead to NHS patients waiting longer.

Far from empowering GPs the bill will create a divide between them and their patients. Commissioning budgets will still be determined by the government and GPs will ration health care. This is bound to interfere with the important relationship between the patient and their GP.

Perhaps it is not surprising that this group of GPs have openly supported the Bill given the generous praised heaped upon them by Andrew Lansley in November 2010. It is also true that some GP's could make significant sums of money if they manage to underspend their budget.