Read the reaction from the BMA, NHS Confederation and others on the publication of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition Government’s plans for health.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chair, BMA
‘We are already aware of some of the proposals set out for GPs and we are willing and ready to discuss these with the Government.
‘While we support sensible suggestions to improve patient access and choice, enabling patients to register with any GP practice they want will, in reality, be very complex, potentially more expensive and could threaten that important relationship between a doctor and his or her patients.
‘We need to ask the Government whether, given the current financial pressures, now is the right time to embark on such a costly venture.’
Nigel Edwards, director of policy, NHS Confederation
‘The service should be under no illusion, the changes as set out today in areas like regulation, the GP contract and out-of hours care represent a considerable shift for the NHS and the challenge now will be to rise to the challenge presented by this new agenda and work to understand its implications.
‘The emphasis placed upon both public health and mental health issues in the document is also welcome and will hopefully reflect a commitment which will continue throughout the lifetime of this government.’
Professor Chris Ham, CEO, The King’s Fund
‘We welcome the acknowledgement of the critical role played by GPs within the NHS and the clear signal that changes are needed to improve the quality of general practice.
‘More clarity is needed about the implications for commissioning – the agreement does not confirm whether GPs will be given “hard” budgets for commissioning care, as proposed in the Conservative manifesto.’
Professor Ian Gilmore, president, Royal College of Physicans
‘The inequalities in health that persist today in the UK are not inevitable. All sectors have a role to play in reducing the gap in health between the richest and the poorest in our society.
‘Doctors in particular are well placed to initiate, involve themselves in and advocate for programmes of action to reduce health inequality, and we look forward to working with the government on that basis.’
James Gubb, director of health unit, Civitas
‘The idea that GP commissioning is a panacea for problems in this area is not based on the evidence of GP fundholding. If GPs are enthusiastic, it will probably work. If not, it probably won’t.
‘The half-measure they have gone for regarding PCTs is a bit of a fudge and will create many confused lines of accountability, leading to deadlock in many places. Who’s got the ultimate “say”? PCTs, local authorities, the elected members, or the independent board?’
Dr Johnny Marshall, chair, NAPC
‘This announcement represents the fulfillment of several years of campaigning by NAPC for the greater devolution of power to primary care and the population it serves in determining the nature of local health services.
‘It reflects all that we outlined in our manifesto last year about the need for a greater emphasis on clinical leadership, high quality primary care services and greater collaborative working both with patients and other professionals.’
Dr Johnny Marshall