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Gerada quits NHS England to be able to speak out on NHS privatisation

Exclusive Former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada has quit NHS England to be able to speak out against what she calls the Conservatives’ ‘desperate quest for privatisation’.

She told Pulse that running the primary care ‘transformation’ programme in the capital as chair of NHS England London’s primary care clinical board had been ‘fantastic’ but that she saw her ‘bigger role’ as a whistleblower on NHS policy - especially in the run-up to the general election.

Professor Gerada, who has filled the time by adding more sessions of clinical work as a GP in Lewisham in south London, said it was ‘no secret now’ that people working within the NHS both at senior and junior manager level were ‘frightened of speaking out and whistleblowing’ and she had not wanted to ‘embarrass’ her employer by doing so.

She said: ‘I think the big things that are wrong cannot be fixed by me [working for NHS England]. These are big things like restoring the secretary of state’s duty to provide a comprehensive health system, like ensuring that we have equity of funding across different areas. Those are the things that are being rapidly removed and being put into the hands of quangos, really.’

The former RCGP chair said that the ‘important thing’ is to bring the NHS ‘back to public ownership, back into proper finance to being properly delivered - and stop this desperate quest for privatisation’

She added: ‘Despite what the Conservatives are saying, as GPs we only need to look around us to know what is going on, and that is that people are no longer able to access the care that they need to because of serious problems with funding and a constant move towards tendering and all things like that.’

Professor Gerada’s NHS campaigning work in the election run up has included an open letter to the Guardian signed by 140 doctors casting a damning verdict on the Coalition’s NHS track record, but she faced a backlash when Tories seized on her membership in the Labour Party, calling the letter a ‘Labour-instigated stitch up’.

Professor Gerada, who told the Telegraph newspaper that she was ‘not a Labour Party activist’, told Pulse that ‘as an outed Labour card carrier’ she hopes the party will win but she thinks next week’s election is too close to call.

Readers' comments (65)

  • dear military gp
    of course i respect local initiatives in ccg's..i play an active role in mine...this does not in any way alter my view that the overall system is a fantastically over complex waste of at least ten billion a year which the nhs and country cannot afford.
    i follow a dual path..doing the best i can as gps always do to make the best of the system imposed on us..whilst arguing seperately for the end to the criminal waste of money in the part privatised current nhs model..pfi,internal market trusts,outsourcing to loss leading organisations which often become a false economy...all this money has been drained from the fundamental determknant of care..clinician numbers .

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  • I was shocked when I heard Dr Gerada talking about her views of general practice on Sky News recently and have lost all respect for her. She certainly does not represent my views or my children who hope to enter general practice. She is in my opinion doing many of us a great disservice by misrepresenting the views of many frontline GPs !

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  • Is this all about the Gerada ego , the Gerada agenda but definitely not general GP opinion

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  • @ Robin Jackson 02.04.15, 7:45pm

    As you have mentioned Morecambe Bay I feel it appropriate to respond as I have worked for the Trust for over 25 years. The Kirkup Report details far better than could I the failings of professional insularity, incompetence and governance. However to tar the entire organisation as you appear to do for the failings of one specific part is I feel unfair. There are many parts of the Trust that deliver high quality and efficient services.

    Moreover some of the underlying problems at UHMB will be familiar to many here (and compounded by geography which however is no excuse).

    Suggestions that the service coverage be reduced to what could be safely and efficiently provided were met with an hysterical reaction from the media, the patients, the politicians and the providers.

    Suggestions that the funding be increased to ensure the coverage continued safely and efficiently were met with an hysterical reaction from the media, the tax-payers, the politicians and the purchasers.

    Therefore quality was the easy option to sacrifice provided nobody looked too closely and it was in nobody's interest to do so.

    You mention your private mental health services. I have no doubt they are indeed of excellent quality.

    I equally have no doubt that they are not provided pro bono.....

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  • Ivan Benett

    I stood as as an Independent Candidate in the 2005 election with Pulse endorsement on a platform of anti-privatisation. I don't remember much support from CG then! That was when it started, actually under a Labour Government. So no good complaining about it now. Mind you I did manage to unseat a Labour MP, and got expelled from the Labour Party as well!
    To be honest, it's too late now to reverse the changes. Whoever gets in we will have to work with them. My manifesto: full Nationalisation of the NHS, 7 day access to full Primary Care, 24/7 access to hospital acute care. Funded by not renewing Trident. In a nutshell

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  • Amazing how many on this thread hide behind anonymity ------ whats that all about? At least I make my views heard - even if they are shot down. At least I stand up to what I believe in ...even if others don't agree. Better to be a "women with Balls...." as someone said very early on in my Chairmanship.

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  • Ps Vote Labour if you want to save the NHS.....and if you want to be able to practice medicine without constantly feeling you're letting your patients down as you can't send them anywhere.

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  • The real damage was done in the Blair era. I had it on very good authority that the best way to knock down the NHS was to blame GP's for leaving in droves, then the rest of the NHS will fold like s deck of cards. Also strangle cash flow by paying PFI developers 20% / annum, so there ain't enough left for nurses and doctors. It was Blair and Brown prior to this lot, who put that in place, Claire!

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  • Dear Iain
    History will show that Major, i.e. Tories brought in PFI

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  • So basically we live in a Socialist NHS state with whistle blowers who need to quit before we hear the RED Tape truth... yeah reminds me of a few characters who had to seek asylum elsewhere!
    Bottom line is: even rats quit a 'sinking ship'!

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