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Buckman: 'Don't think it will be better under Tories'

By Steve Nowottny

A Conservative Government would pose new challenges to GPs and effectively mean a return to fundholding, GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman claimed this week.

Speaking at the Surrey and Sussex LMCs' annual conference in Crawley, Dr Buckman's ‘State of the Union' address covered a number of areas on which the GPC has clashed with the Government in recent months, including GP-led health centres, pay and privatisation.

But with a general election due within the next thirteen months, Dr Buckman issued a note of caution over the Tories' plans for primary care.

‘Don't think it will be better under the Tories,' he said. ‘The Tories have got their own suite of ideas, many of which would make you shake.'

‘I'm sure they'd be terribly miffed if I say this, but I think what they're after is fundholding mark two. They're not going to call it that, but it certainly has the feel of fundholding about it.'

Dr Buckman added that while a Conservative Government was unlikely to ‘force fundholding on everybody', the plans would draw a mixed reaction from grassroots GPs.

‘Some of you will say yeah, just what we want, and others of you will say oh no, not that again. And those of you who did it last time may say well it was a great last time but I don't think I can cope with a second go at it.'

But Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley immediately hit back at the comments, accusing Dr Buckman of misrepresenting the Tories' plans.

He said: ‘Lawrence Buckman knows perfectly well there are significant differences between our proposals and fund-holding.'

‘There will be a clear demarcation between patient budgets and practice income so that reward comes through achieving results not savings from patient care.'

‘We will use payment by results and the tariff to make sure we have a standard contract which will avoid the bureaucracy associated with fund-holding,' he added.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman

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