Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a scathing attack on the access to primary care offered to patients, claiming GPs are giving preferential access to ‘people with money’ who they meet at dinner parties.
The Prime Minister made the claim in a speech yesterday in which he vowed to end the ‘incredibly unfair’ system of provision caused by the state’s ‘monopoly’ of public services, which he argued could be remedied by creating more opportunities for private and voluntary providers.
Mr Cameron was speaking at the launch of the Government’s radical white paper Open Public Services, which outlines proposals to give individuals and local communities more control and choice over the services they receive by breaking up the current system.
In proposals for the NHS, the white paper expands upon Government plans unveiled last week to push ahead with the release of a raft of comparative data on GP performance, including prescribing rates and clinical outcomes, as part of an ‘information revolution’.
It pledges to proceed with plans to abolish GP practice boundaries, giving patients ‘a clear ability to choose to register with a GP practice not restricted by where they live’, and vows to make it easier for patients to register at a practice or book an appointment to see their GP online.
Launching the changes, Mr Cameron said: ‘It astonishes me that it’s those who call themselves progressive, who say they’re on the side of the poorest, who are the most anti-opening up public services. It’s the current system that is incredibly unfair.’
‘People with money can get friendly with their local GP at a dinner party, maybe see them out of hours if there’s an emergency. In this world of restricted choice and freedom it’s the poorest who lose out.’
The whiter paper identifies five key areas for driving change – increasing choice wherever possible, decentralising power to ‘the lowest appropriate level’, opening up public services to a greater range of providers, ensuring ‘fair access and fair funding for all’, and making services accountable to users and taxpayers.
The Prime Minister added: ‘I know what our public services can do and how they are the backbone of this country. But I know too that the way they have been run for decades – old-fashioned, top-down, take-what-you’re-given – is just not working for a lot of people.’
‘Open public services are going to mean you in control. No more take what you’re given. No more like-it-or-lump-it. Right across public services we’re putting you in charge like never before.’