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Failure to bail out general practice represents 'historical contempt', says outgoing GP leader

Outgoing NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon has criticised the Government for ’underspending’ the GP budget and using it ‘to cover financial deficits in secondary care’.

Speaking at his retirement reception in London earlier this week, Dr Dixon said that letting GP practices go bust while paying off hospital debt represented ‘a historical contempt for primary care’.

Dr Dixon, a GP in Cullompton, Devon, is retiring after 18 years as chair of NHS Alliance, being replaced by co-chairs Dr Mark Spencer, a GP in Lancashire, and Heather Henry, a nurse based in the North-West of England.

Dr Dixon said: ‘It is utterly unbelievable that NHS England’s primary care budget should have been underspent, and used to cover financial deficits in secondary care.

‘General Practice has already carried a disproportionate share of austerity at a time when it has been expected to extend its role. Hospital deficits were eventually paid off. You can’t have deficits in general practice; practices simply go bust… This represents a deep, continuing and historical contempt for primary care.’

Despite this criticism, health secretary Jeremy Hunt took the opportunity to praise Dr Dixon’s long tenure as a GP leader at the event.

Referring to the Five Year Forward View - the blueprint for NHS reform unveiled by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens last year - Mr Hunt said: ’People call it the Stevens plan, but a lot of it is the Dixon plan. It’s the NHS Alliance plan, it’s the plan to put GPs at the heart of the transformation that we now want to happen.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • Vinci Ho

    Interesting 'compliment' from Agent Hunt. Some of us are obviously still important to him.....

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  • All Hunt's doing is continuing to drip feed the line that this is all our plan as GPs and therefore when it finally implodes he did what he could but ultimately it was down to the GPs and he couldn't save it

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  • What a retirement gift from Hunt! Dr Dixon is now a named conspirator to the plan.

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  • Beware of primary care's Trojan Horse!
    Step forward CCG Finance Director!
    "...GP practices go bust while paying off hospital debt..." It is FDs who sign blank cheques to the hospitals for non-existent activity, it is them who even in CCGs in surplus redirect resources to secondary care obeying orders from above.
    Soon, it will be CCG finance directors who will see to it that PMS premium will be channelled from paying GP staff to "savings" and to maintaining finance department clerks to the lifestyle they are accustomed.
    Ah yes, what are the LMCs doing about that?

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  • Why do we, why does Dr Dixon tolerate such contempt and discrimination ? Money taken from GPs so they go bust, while these so called leaders do nothing,.
    Is it not time to ballot for resignation or do we wish to keep on tolerating contempt for us?

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