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Partners more sceptical than salaried GPs of NHS reforms

GP partners are more opposed to the Government's health reforms than salaried GPs and locums, according to the latest tracking survey of the profession's opinion.

A poll of nearly 1,000 GPs in England found the profession remains on the whole unsupportive of the changes, despite a raft of proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill.

But there was a tangible difference in levels of support among partners and salaried GPs, with 62% of GP principals against the reforms, compared with just 49% of non-principals.

The survey, conducted following the Government's listening exercise by medeConnect Healthcare Insight, found that more than half of GPs overall (57%) felt discussions on GP commissioning during the ‘pause' had had a negative impact on their confidence in the bill.

But when compared with the results of a similar survey in April, the number of salaried GPs and locums who believed the reforms would have ‘a very negative impact' on their confidence in the bill had reduced from 25% to 17% overall.

Almost half of GP partners (49%) felt opening up commissioning to other groups would have a negative impact on the quality of patient care, compared to 43% of GP non-principals.

Some 57% of GPs overall thought that extending commissioning would have either a ‘very' or ‘slightly negative impact' on their ability to influence the quality of healthcare patients receive, with partners particularly negative on this point.

Anna Garofalo, managing director of medeConnect, said: ‘Our research shows that many GPs (and in particular GP principals) still view the Health and Social Care Bill in a negative light following the Government's listening exercise.'

‘The bid to extend the commissioning process to other groups is a source of concern for many GP principals, many of whom believe that it will be detrimental to patient care.'