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RCGP calls for Government to ‘pause and take stock’ on NHS market reforms

By Ian Quinn

Exclusive: The RCGP is stepping up its campaign against the Government’s plans to ramp up competition in the NHS, after revelations that the Prime Minister is drawing up key changes to the health bill to satisfy critics.

The RCGP will write to health secretary Andrew Lansley calling for the NHS reforms to be halted until impact assessments have been carried out across England on the likely impact of the Government’s plans.

The intervention by RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada, comes after a weekend of rumours in the national press that the Government is about to water down key areas of their NHS reforms due to opposition from the medical profession.

Dr Gerada said the college was stepping up its opposition to plans to axe practice boundaries and warned the plans to introduce far greater competition among providers could destabilise entire health economies.

She also launched a strong attack on the Government, claiming opposition from the college and other quarters to the reforms had so far been ignored.

Dr Gerada told Pulse: ‘We are deeply concerned still and have received no assurances about our fears over any willing provider.

‘We think there should be an impact assessment about what the policy will mean across the NHS in England. So far we have seen nothing that’s reassuring and we’re not satisfied at all about the Government saying services won’t be determined by price.’

The RCGP leader said the fact that the vast majority of the country already covered by GP pathfinders and with PCTs rapidly forming into clusters, meant there was now an opportunity for the Government to ‘pause and take stock’.

‘We will be calling on the Government to halt things until we can look further into the potential impact.’

Dr Clare Gerada: calling for impact assessment into NHS market Dr Clare Gerada: calling for impact assessment into NHS market