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GP consortia 'not in best interest of patients', says RCN congress

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The Royal College of Nursing members have passed a motion that the government’s changes to how NHS services are commissioned are not in patients’ interests.

More than 98% of the annual congress in Liverpool voted for a motion saying the conference “does not believe that changes to commissioning arrangements outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill will best service patients, health care, or the NHS in England”.

Linda Bailey, a member of the RCN public health forum, proposed the motion. She highlighted recent King’s Fund research which she said showed GPs were “not fit for practice in what they are doing at the moment”, so should not be handed commissioning budgets.

RCN member from London Helen Brown said the creation of GP-led commissioning consortia would be bad for the health of the population. She said: “The financial success of each GP consortia will influence the level of care their patients receive.”

Wendy Fairhurst-Winstanley, of the RCN Advanced Nurse Practitioner Forum, said GP commissioning would increase private involvement in the NHS. She said: “Setting provider against provider will lead to fractured, non cohesive services.”

Responding to the motion, RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “It’s just another ingredient from us pointing out the flawed logic – the way these plans have not been thought through and the total confusion of who does what.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Thank goodness for Linda Bailey and the RCN congress! GPs should be providing for the clinical needs of their patients, not playing about with finance. Their full attention should be given to the medical care of their patients, not haggling for the best deal with private providers. It is already difficult to get in front of your GP without his time being taken up with business interests. If you have a GP who has a poor business/financial brainyou will end up at the bottom of the pile when a referral is required.

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