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General practice reforms “not for the better”

6 June 2008

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Patient care in general practice is suffering because of “simplistic and unpiloted” NHS reforms, a group of academics has claimed.

Researchers writing in the BMJ criticised recent reforms in general practice and say that if they are allowed to continue unchallenged, it will result in the “dismemberment of a primary care system that has been the envy of other countries”.

Patients are used to receiving holistic care from their GP, their report says, but the government’s policy of using general practice to implement a public health agenda has had the knock-on effect of patients not being treated as individuals.

“Allowing these trends to continue unchallenged will result in the dismemberment of a primary care system that has been the envy of other countries,” said the researchers, led by Professor John Howie of the University of Edinburgh.

“Patients will lose holistic care, doctors will lose job satisfaction, and the NHS will lose effectiveness and efficiency.

“GPs need to reclaim their traditional overall responsibility for the continuing care of patients in their own practices and to make their concerns about the new system more generally known.”

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BMJ article