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GPs and nurses slam government reforms and hospital care

28 March 2013

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Distrust in hospitals and a lack of support for the NHS reforms amongst GPs, practice managers and nurses has been revealed in a survey by Campden Health, a leading publishing, events and research company.

On the eve of GPs taking control of a huge chunk of NHS money Primary Concerns: A Survey of Healthcare Professionals found that only 7% supported the reforms.

On April 1 £65 billion of NHS money will be handed to 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) but 60% of the 1041 GPs, nurses and practice managers polled, are unsure about the reforms.

For those opposed to the changes, two reasons stand out. Almost two-thirds of those polled see the reforms as a “distraction from caring for patients”. Exactly as many believe that the changes are a step towards privatisation of the health service.

Among opponents of the reforms, 58% believe they will mean doctors will spend too much time on management, and 47% believe the changes amount to a waste of money.

However the survey also shows that primary care professionals are not happy with the status quo. Only 54% said they would be happy for a member of their own family to be treated at the local hospital.

The survey also indicates how NHS care may change when decisions are in the hands of primary care clinicians. 

There was a low tolerance among respondents for NHS funding of homeopathy and acupuncture with 54% and 28% respectively calling for it to be stopped. 

A huge 83% want to introduce charges for those that fail to attend appointments and 63% said that those who end up in A&E because of alcohol should also be charged.

Victoria Vaughan, Campden Health’s editor-in-chief, said: “While confidence in the reforms seems low those leading the change are prepared to make tough decisions to improve care for patients.

“The survey highlights that local hospital care is not right. CCGs have the power to change this as long as they get support from the public and politicians both locally and nationally.”

The survey found: 

• Almost half of primary care professionals do not believe their local hospital is good enough to treat their families

• Less than 7% expressed support for government reform programme

• A huge 83% want charges for patients who fail to attend appointments

The full survey is available here.