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Gerada questions independence of ‘listening exercise’ on NHS reforms

By Ellie Broughton

Exclusive: The chair of the RCGP has questioned the validity of the Government's latest consultation on the NHS reforms, saying she feared the exercise would be a waste of time.

The Government has insisted it will press ahead with its planned reforms, in the face of strong criticism from the BMA and the RCGP, but will run a further consultation and a publicity campaign during a ‘natural pause' in parliamentary proceedings.

In an interview with Pulse, Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘I don't know what the Government is hoping to achieve by putting in a body of people who are neither academics nor independent to consult with public and frontline staff and pathfinders.

‘I don't know what they are going to find that's any different from the thousands of responses they've already had. Everybody is saying more or less the same thing as what I've said – that this bill has serious problems associated with it.'

She described the reforms as ‘exhausting' and suggested that the findings of the consultation were likely to be much the same as the opinions already aired by the RCGP, the BMA and the UK's other professional healthcare bodies.

But Dr Gerada said she had ‘major concerns' about the questions that would be asked to GPs and patients in the survey. ‘If the questions are leading questions then there is no point. One would hope that in a democratic process, that those views which have gone through the normal democratic consultation process will be listened to.

‘What we should be focusing on are the concerns about fragmentation, about the ramping up of privatisation and the emphasis on competition', she added.

Dr Clare Gerada Watch Dr Clare Gerada