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Reforms threaten 'jewel' of NHS, warn GPs

Changes to the NHS from the government’s reforms will worsen patient care and widen health inequalities, GPs cautioned today.

audience LMC 2013They warned that organisational changes and the increased burden of administration on GP practices put services and quality patient care at risk.

Doctors said that the impact of the Health and Social Care Act in England would be to widen health inequalities in populations and compromise the health of the nation.

And they agreed it would seriously threaten core general practice, destroying the viability of some of these.

Cheshire GP Peter Madden told doctors at today’s BMA local medical committees conference that his profession was ‘in the direct firing line’ of the government.

‘Perfect storm’

He argued that issues such as the imposition of contract and pension changes, the fate of personal medical services contracts and deductions in the multi-professional educational and training levy meant all practices were under severe financial threat, with the added issue of potentially taking back out-of-hours responsibility.

‘We have heard about workload problems and the impending workforce crisis. We have the ingredients for a perfect storm,’ he said.

Liverpool GP Andrew Taylor said there was a mass exodus with the early retirement of older GPs and emigration of younger ones and warned that ‘general practice is dying’.

He was applauded as he quoted Joni Mitchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi: ‘Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone.’

And he implored the conference: ‘Don’t let deceitful, duplicitous politicians and governments destroy the GP jewel in your NHS crown.’

Newcastle GP Gerard Reissmann maintained that the government was ‘destroying the NHS’.

He insisted: ‘This isn’t our doing, we are watching this car crash and we are saying this is happening.’