Reforms put NHS in distress, say GPs


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Indy Politics

GP leaders are still expressing concern about the Government's NHS reforms, saying that they have put the NHS “in distress”.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) chair Dr Clare Gerada said the controversial Health and Social Care Act has caused "the mother of all top-down reorganisations" in thehealth service.

The Health and Social Care Act became law in March after a tortuous passage through Parliament.

Whilst the Act applies to England only, Dr Gerada said that all the health services across the UK are under pressure to find ways of delivering services more efficiently without compromising the quality of patient care.

"At last year's conference we were in turmoil as well," she said.

"In England, we were in the midst of the Health and Social Care Bill - and, despite assurances to the contrary, the NHS is experiencing the mother of all top-down reorganisations. In fact, the most radical in its 60-year history.

"A bill qualified by a thousand amendments - longer than a Tolstoy novel - rushed through at breakneck speed.

"And, as a result, our NHS is in distress. And so too, are many of us."

She went on to say: "We GPs will always make the system work for our patients. But we will never compromise the founding values of our NHS.

"And each of us must continue to play our part in raising concerns wherever we see inequalities and unfairness in our health system.

"We'll show courage, just as our forefathers did as they rose to the extraordinary challenges posed by post-war austerity and the uncertainties of the new NHS."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Local doctors are the right people to lead the NHS. They will make this system work and make sure the NHS is locally led.

"They know what their local health and care issues are and will ensure patients are treated as individuals - with dignity and respect - improving services and the quality of care."