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DH outlines key risks of health bill reforms

Potential conflicts of interest and the ability of GPs to manage risk, have been identified by the DH as key risks associated with the reforms contained in today's health bill.

Other key risks outlined in an impact assessment published by the DH alongside the bill were GP Consortia not having sufficient capacity and capability, higher transaction costs and the ability of GPs to deliver potential savings, estimated at some £8.8 billion.

The same document also estimated the cost of the transfer or responsibility for commissioning from PCTs and SHAs to GP consortia and NHS commissioning boards at £1.45 billion.

Publication of the bill itself today has prompted a wide-ranging spectrum of response from various health organisations.

The BMA immediately announced the launch of a high profile campaign against some parts of the bill, while the NAPC said the bill could lead to the NHS becoming a ‘world leader' of health care.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'The benefits that clinician-led commissioning can bring are threatened by other parts of the bill. In particular, the legislation will allow competition to be forced on commissioners, even when they believe the best and most appropriate services can be provided by local hospitals.'

But NHS Alliance chair, Dr Mike Dixon, said the ‘point of no return' had been reached with publication of the health bill and the fact more than 50 per cent of GPs are now in a pathfinder consortium.

He told Practical Commissioning GPs opposing the bill were ‘missing a trick'.

‘The issue is whether you think GPs should have a defining role in reforming health and social in this country. That's the issue you need to start out from.'

NAPC chair, Dr Johnny Marshall, said: ‘This bill offers the country a remarkable opportunity to transform health and social care into a service fit for the 21st century and become comparable to the best in the world.

He added: ‘Without the need for continued unsustainable investment, this Bill presents a framework for this country to become a world leader, as it already is, in some parts of the country, in primary care. The trick will be to translate what we know about world class provision into all sectors of health and social care in every town and city in the land. Today marks the start of this essential journey.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum