Senior GP commissioners – including one in health secretary Andrew Lansley’s own constituency – have opened fire on the Government’s ill-feted health bill, claiming the reforms will ‘wreck the NHS’.
Dr Peter Bailey, a GP in Great Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, claimed primary care has been ‘duped’ by the changes, and called on Mr Lansley to ‘get rid of the bill’ – in an article published today on bmj.com.
Dr Bailey, former vice chair of the CATCH commissioning group in Cambridge, said GPs had achieved success whole working closely with the PCT, and said he believed the profession was ‘being set up’ by being asked to take on new roles without sufficient skills or time to do so, whilst simultaneously trying to save £20bn.
His criticism came in the same week that Dr Paul Davis, a GP in Castle Hedingham, Essex, tendered his resignation from the board of Mid Essex CCG due to what he described as ‘the obsession with saving money and hitting financial targets’, with a system ‘too heavy on meetings, excessive workload…and bureaucratic detail’.
Dr Bailey said he had visited Downing Street to meet with the Prime Minister, Sir David Nicholson and Mr Lansley to air his concerns, but said his suggestions that the reforms were unworkable fell upon ‘deaf or reluctant ears’.
He writes: ‘Our early enthusiasm for protecting the fundamental ethos and values of the NHS led us into collusion with the bill. By the time the professions really understood the bill much of the damage was already done.’
‘Many experienced and dedicated PCT managers saw what was coming and looked for other jobs; those who remained colluded with the so called reforms in the hope of continuing employment—and the demolition continues.’
‘Now we stand baffled in the wreckage. Let us put down the sledgehammer. Get rid of the bill. And bring in a structural engineer to stabilise our finest institution.’