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DH hits back at Gerada over GP commissioning fears



By Lilian Anekwe

Senior Department of Health figures have rejected criticisms of the NHS white paper made by new RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada, insisting they do not reflect the ‘reality’ of the profession as a whole.

Pulse exclusively revealed earlier this week that Dr Gerada feared GPs risked being ‘corralled and de-professionalised’ by the reforms.

But Sir John Oldham, a GP and national clinical lead for the DH’s Quality, Innovation, Prevention and Productivity initiative, said her comments were at odds with the profession she represents.

‘Clare has a very individual way of putting things. But the reality is her members are already implementing some of the changes, because the white paper is patented around what they have already achieved,’ he said.

And health minister Simon Burns poured scorn on those, like Dr Gerada, who suggested the white paper proposals were being rushed, accusing them of delaying tactics.

He said: ‘Whenever anyone says things are being rushed, it’s usually a euphemism for “I don’t like it, and if we delay it, we might be able to string it out”. I believe it is a realistic and responsible timescale.’

But GPs contacting Pulse have been overwhelmingly supportive of Dr Gerada’s stance.

Dr Subhash Chandra Bhatt, a GP in Simmondley in Glossop said: ‘I think this white paper is nothing more than passing the buck and GPs will do the hard work with no reward. If it goes well the Government will take credit and if it fails GPs would be blamed. I am surprised no-one has opposed this.’

New RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada had warned GPs could be ‘corralled and de-professionalised’ by the white paper reforms New RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada had warned GPs could be ‘corralled and de-professionalised’ by the white paper reforms