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Everington: Why we called for the health bill to be withdrawn

The chair of the first CCG in the country to urge the Prime Minister to drop the health bill said the move was driven by GPs’ anger that their membership of CCGs was being used to try and prove support for the health bill.

Speaking exclusively to Pulse, Dr Everington said: ‘There was a great strength of feeling from local GPs about a Government consistently arguing that GPs getting engaged in commissioning showed support for the bill. If you speak to GPs, there is absolutely no support for the bill whatsoever.’

Dr Everington said GP commissioners were being hamstrung by bureaucracy caused by the upheaval, and said the Government would have done better to leave existing structures in place, but place more clinicians on the boards of PCTs.

He said: ‘The rolling restructuring is causing a massive amount of instability. We are spending an enormous amount of time just dealing with the change rather than on patient care. We are also in unprecedented tighter times financially, it’s about where you put your energies.’

‘The principle of engaging clinicians, how can anyone not agree with that? The trouble is the translation, and the unintended consequences. The temptation is always to restructure, it doesn’t need to be this complex.’

‘All of this is achievable without the bill. Even GPs who are supporters I would think would find it hard to disagree with what’s in the letter.’

Dr Everington said that despite the Government’s wish to depoliticise the health service, the health bill had actually had the reverse effect.

He said: ‘Ironically, if you’d taken an organic approach and just engaged clinicians in PCT boards, you would have depoliticised it much more. They would have much closer to achieving their objectives.’