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Health service in 'distress' after reforms, warn GPs


Government reforms have put the NHS in “distress”, GP leaders have said.

The Health and Social Care Act has been the cause of “the mother of all top-down reorganisations” within the health service, according to Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

After the Health and Social Care Act passed through Parliament, it became law in March.

Despite the Act solely applying to England, Dr Gerada said all the UK’s health services are being pressured into finding ways to offer more efficient services, without disrupting the quality of patient care.

Dr Gerada, speaking at the RSGP’s annual conference in Glasgow, said that GP leaders were in “turmoil” last year 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 said that GPs would always ensure the system works for their patients, but would not compromise the NHS’ founding values.

Dr Gerada said every GP should raise concerns if they saw inequality and unfairness within the 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,” she said.

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.”


Readers' comments (8)

  • nhs in distress...well I never!!!

    tory reforms are going well then..what a surprise..never mind at least the private companies are making profits from the ill people of this country and the profits can be donated back to the tory party in order to gain more contracts!!

    good quote by any burnham

    cameron "I will cut the NHS not the deficit!"

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  • sorry above should of read andy burnham..just so frustrated as to whats happening to our NHS

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  • I think the term 'distress' is very polite under the circumstances. The Tories are out to ruin the NHS, just as Thatcher did.

    He doesn't care about the people in this country.

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  • It seems that the act has paved a way for the NHS to become a franchise, whereby your service is provided from whomever! Also the act and the government, have ignored the plain fact that there are other healthcare professionals who should be involved in making decisions not just G.Ps. I suppose they are very good at ignoring the elephant in the corner.
    One word appalling!

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  • michael stone

    I have a suspicion that Clare, as well as objecting to any attempt to 'compromise the NHS’ founding values', has decided that structurally this 'new system' is a mess, as well.

    There is absolutely no evidence, that this reorganisation can improve the NHS - it is too complex to be evaluated in advance. But there are reasonable grounds to suspect that it will almost certainly fragment services - not good !

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  • Just the right time to hand over budgets to GPs, when there's an ever decreasing amount of money in the NHS, hospital trusts are all but bankrupt and NHS morale is at rock bottom. Perfect prescription for more privatisation.
    We only have to look at social care over the last three decades and the standards that are allowed.
    I'm retired now and worried !!!

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  • The NHS is awash with money. It's just that the Tories are moving it to the private sector. Today, jeremy hunt has just signed a contract with G4S to provide patient transport services in Great Yarmouth (you remember G4S as the people who let us down so badly at the Olympics) and as a reward are given a contract for £13000000. A major shareholder at G4s has donated over £400000 to the Tory party. No conflict of interest there then.

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