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Under-performing GPs waste money that could be used elsewhere, says DH adviser

By Nigel Praities

Exclusive: A senior Government adviser has warned a 'rump' of under-performing GPs are wasting money and will be increasingly targeted by NHS managers keen to cut costs and shift more care into the community.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Sir John Oldham, national clinical lead of quality and productivity and a GP in Manchester, said a minority of practices were giving a ‘bad impression' of general practice and they would be subjected to greater scrutiny from PCTs in the near future.

The warning comes after Pulse revealed thousands of PMS practices face harsh local reviews of their funding, with many switching back to GMS contracts after PCTs took the axe to funding for their services.

Sir John – who is leading the Government's QIPP scheme to realise efficiency savings in the care of people with long-term conditions – said GPs would find it increasingly a tough environment.

‘Every organisation and business in the UK is having to relook at the way it does things because of the climate that we are in and general practice cannot escape that analysis.

‘A think that a very small minority of our colleagues who underperform will need to look very carefully at what they are doing, because I cannot believe that in a system of scare resources that they are going to escape being looked at very closely. In one sense, they are using resources that other practices and primary care teams could use more effectively,' he said.

‘There is a rump within general practice that causes the profession as a whole difficulty because they give a bad impression to our secondary care colleagues,' he added.

Pulse revealed last month the Conservative Party would rein back on the Government's drive to shift more hospital care into the community, with local consultations on any changes in service provision.

Sir John had harsh words for GPs who supported this move, saying they should realise there was a ‘tsunami' of need and primary care would have to take up some of the slack and encourage patients to self-care.

‘They should think in terms of team, rather than themselves. I think increasingly we will be looking at federations of practices to deliver the totality of services. Many of our colleagues are actively moving in that direction and my encouragement is for others to go along the same lines.

'The challenges that come round the corner are inescapable- that is a not a political equation it is a mathematical equation,' he said.

Sir John Oldham