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We must translate enthusiasm into action

I’d like to encourage my fellow GPs to seize the opportunity presented by the Government’s white paper on health.

I work in an area of London where GP commissioning has been operational since last spring and the potential for positive change is huge.

In Redbridge, we have five GP boards now responsible for healthcare delivery in different areas of the borough.We increasingly work alongside other health professionals and resident-led community panels to ensure everyone moves forward together.

It is a steep learning curve and there are many new skills to master – but my advice is that GPs should not be feeling overwhelmed.I’ve personally found that really committing to this opportunity has brought its own impetus and the five boards recently signed off their first-year work plans, including new care pathways for two chronic diseases.

Elsewhere, GPs’ excitement at the prospect of new-found power may have been quickly tempered by the realisation that the buck stops with them.

I understand GP commissioning can be an intimidating prospect, but that shouldn’t stop us seizing the opportunity it presents.It’s a historic time to be working in the NHS and the white paper presents a radical departure from what has gone before.

I, like most clinicians, have a good relationship with my patients. I don’t want to see that jeopardised by the fact we will be ultimately accountable for health service delivery and responsible for taking the tough decisions.

But change is already happening. This is something many of us have wanted for a long time. We must now translate that enthusiasm into action.

From Dr Anil Mehta
Redbridge, north-east London
Clinical director of Fairlop Polysystem