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DH hints at rethink on maternity services

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government is coming under perssure to reconsider plans to block GP consortia from commisisoning maternity services, with GPs calling the proposals ‘outrageous'.

The Department of Healrh's white paper says responsibility for commissioning maternity services will be the remit of the new national NHS Commissioning Board, but a recent King's Fund inquiry called for GPs to be given more responsibility for the health of pregnant women.

Delegates attending the joint NHS Alliance and RCGP commissioning event in London said the plans to move responsibility for maternity services out of primary care ran contrary to the principles of the white paper, and urged ministers to reverse the decision.

Dr Mark Spencer, a GP in Ealing, who chaired a discussion workshop on the function of GP consortia, said: ‘We don't understand about maternity services. There is no rationale or logic for moving it elsewhere.'

Another GP delegate, who wished to remain anonymous, said the move was ‘outrageous', and appeared to contradict the white paper's ethos of devolving decision making to a local level.

A DH representative said it would take on board all feedback from delegates, and hinted at a possible U-turn. ‘A lot of people struggle to see how this fits with the general philosophy,' he admitted.

The Government may reconsider plans to block GPs from commissioning maternity services The Government may reconsider plans to block GPs from commissioning maternity services

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