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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Letter of the week: I am resigning over these reckless reforms

I have resigned from general practice as a result of the interference by this Government in the running of the NHS and the care of patients – which for the first time since I had qualified in 1984 showed signs of improvement and progression as a result of Labour's changes. 

I have never felt moved to represent my opinions before in any public way, but I have been boiling over about what is going to be imposed on GPs despite widespread concern.

Hard-working medical staff who have given their lives to caring for others have been treated with disrespect bordering on disdain.

I can only see that private companies and shareholders will benefit from the changes proposed, profiting at taxpayers' expense, while the working pay and conditions of the staff who give of themselves to provide a service to the public will worsen.

Patient care was improving markedly, resulting in reductions in waiting times and improvements in mortality and morbidity from chronic disease.

GPs and hospital doctors were able to see their hard work had some effect on outcomes, and feel rewarded emotionally and financially for their efforts in reaching targets and improving care.

The NHS was going in the right direction, and the Conservatives promised in their election campaign that they would not interfere with the NHS, pointing out that it had seen too many changes in recent times.

So it was a shock when they came to power and quickly announced massive changes, which had obviously been years in the planning, with the intention of implementing them at breakneck speed.

I was looking forward to Labour's changes being improved upon during a period of stability in the NHS, augmenting the good elements and improving those that were less successful.

The next major step should have been to address the care of our elderly population. Clinicians needed time to take part in planning the integration of health and social care against a background of evidence- and outcome-based healthcare.

Their time is now spent trying to grapple with huge changes that many of us feel are wrong, with little time left to provide good care.

What also contributed to my resignation was a personal insight that I and my fellow GPs were going to be held responsible for the inevitable rationing of care as the needs of our population increased, with the Government washing its hands of responsibility at the same time as it imposed budget reductions on those to whom it had handed the keys of the NHS.

I was not willing to be set up to fail.

The Government should surely leave things as they are, and concentrate on reducing the impact of the profiteering corporate sector.

From a GP in Cornwall (name and address supplied)

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