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GPs ‘should lose independent status’ says Tudor Hart

GPs would lose their independent contractor status and work in salaried positions under plans for a ‘new direction’ for the NHS in Wales drawn up by one of the country’s most influential GPs.

Dr Julian Tudor Hart, a GP for 35 years in south Wales and London and the creator of the term ‘inverse care law’, said the removal of the independence of general practice would allow better planning of healthcare.

In his paper ‘How NHS Wales could lead the world‘, for think tank the Bevan Foundation, Dr Tudor Hart, said it was time to move in a new direction, removing the ‘compromises’ made by NHS founding father Nye Bevan  at the time of the NHS was created.

This could mean removing independent contractor status for GPs and the right for NHS consultants to continue with private practise.

He wrote: ‘NHS administrations today should be able to trust GPs in Wales…to work out local tactics using local data and experience, to implement strategies developed by regional authorities, and do so for dignified salaries, not in response to management sticks or fee-for-service carrots.’

Dr Tudor Hart has been a major critic of the Government’s health reforms in England, and was voted the most influential GP in the UK in 2010. Writing in Pulse last year, he said the NHS in England was being ‘pushed back’ to the 1920s.

In the Bevan Foundation paper, Dr Tudor Hart claims a progressive public NHS in Wales would eventually become so attractive that many ‘NHS refugees’ would be drawn to work there.

‘Both for young specialists and young generalists seeking employment in the NHS as a public service rather than a business, Wales could become an increasingly attractive area for innovative work, but this will depend on confidence that Wales NHS will continue to move in a new direction,’ he said.