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RCGP poll finds 60% of GPs are against NHS reforms

By Ian Quinn

The RCGP today hit the Government with a new bombshell over its health bill proposals, with a survey of its members showing more than 60% of GPs are against the ‘general direction' of the reforms.

The poll, of more than 1,800 GPs, found 28.9% of those who responded ‘strongly disagreed' with the aims of the reforms, while a further 32.1% ‘disagreed'.

In contrast 20.2% of GPs approved of the Government's direction of travel and only 3.8% ‘strongly agreed.'

The survey also shows major doubts over GP commissioning and the extent to which GPs think it will improve services.

Asked to what extent they agreed that expanded GP commissioning could improve health outcomes, more than 40% either disagreed or strongly disagreed, compared to 30% who agreed or strongly agreed.

The survey also showed GPs thought the proposals would not lead to improved relationships between GPs and clinicians, would fail to provide most cost effective care, and would not manage to reduce bureaucracy.

Nearly half of GPs did not think the moves would lead to better patient care, compared to just over 20% who did.

The RCGP's poll strongly echoed a Pulse snapshot survey of GP opinion, two weeks ago, which also showed nearly two thirds of GPs were against the plans.

The latest poll also shows strong resistance to the Government policy of ‘any willing provider', with more than 70% of respondents saying they disagreed or strongly disagreed that the concept of ‘any willing provider' would either achieve a patient-led NHS, or improve healthcare outcomes.

RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘The RCGP is not opposed to NHS reform; we want to improve the NHS for our patients, and GPs want to see a clinician-led NHS that places patients at its very centre.

‘However, these results highlight the continuing concerns many of our members have about the proposals outlined in the health bill.

‘This is a snapshot of what our members are thinking at the moment. These results show that a significant number of our members are keen to support GP-led commissioning; it is something the College, and GPs, have wanted for many years.

‘However, our members are telling us that they are worried about the pace at which these reforms are being implemented, the danger of fragmentation of services, and the emphasis on competition, and they are not sure whether the proposals really will have the positive impact on patient care that is intended.

‘Our members are also worried that time which could be spent caring for patients will be taken away to deal with budgeting and administration and that this will impact negatively on the quality and continuity of care our patients receive.'

Dr Clare Gerada: calling on Government to listen to GP fears Dr Clare Gerada: calling on Government to listen to GP fears