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Draconian McKinsey plans targeted GP 'tea breaks'

By Gareth Iacobucci

The full scale of controversial plans drawn up by management consultants to slash the length of GP consultations across England has been revealed.

A report produced for the previous Government by McKinsey has finally been published, revealing plans to drive up GPs' hours and productivity, clamp down on ‘poor performers' and target time lost to tea breaks.

Its publication follows the release last month of an equally contentious report by McKinsey submitted to NHS London, which formed the basis of proposals to shift work en masse from hospitals to GP polysystems.

And the latest report to emerge makes clear that the London plans, now vetoed by health secretary Andrew Lansley, were recommended for implementation across the UK.

It pinpoints the potential to ‘increase the number of GPs appointments available and/or hours worked by GPs' as a key driver to saving money, concluding ‘potential GP productivity improvement could be worth £0.2-0.4bn, if weak performers achieve standard performance'.

The company even warns of the GP time ‘lost to tea breaks'. It advises reducing PCT prescribing costs could generate potential savings of £0.4-0.6bn, and says decommissioning procedures with limited clinical benefit, including knee joint surgery, primary hip replacements and cataract surgery, could save £0.3-0.7bn across England.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘As part of our drive to make Government more transparent, I am publishing this report that was commissioned by the previous Government. It is indicative of a top-down internal process intended to cut spending by cutting staff, including frontline staff.'

The McKinsey report contained detailed plans to drive up GPs' hours and increase practice productivity The McKinsey report contained detailed plans to drive up GPs' hours and increase practice productivity

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