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GPs’ out-of-hours opt out set to be renegotiated

21 May 2010

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The GP contract is to be renegotiated under plans announced in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition document.

The document also promises patients choice over which GP they register with and the creation of an urgent care number for patients with non-life threatening conditions and injuries to ring, which will put them in touch with GPs, walk-in centres and pharmacy services.

However, the Tory pre-election pledge to scrap government-imposed targets in the NHS is omitted from the document. The Tories had pledged to “scrap the politically motivated targets that have no clinical justification”, but the deal only mentions the government will seek to measure “health results that really matter”, such as improving cancer and stroke survival rates.

Elements of promises made by the Liberal Democrats appear in the document, including ensuring a “stronger voice for patients locally” through directly elected individuals on the boards of their local health trust.

A key Tory pledge – to create a new independent NHS board for day-to-day running of the health service – will be put in place.

The rest of the document is made up of announcements already made by the Conservatives, including guaranteeing health spending increases in real terms in each year of Parliament.

There are pledges to stop top-down reorganisations of the bodies that make up the NHS, and the cutting of waste by “reducing duplication and the resources spent on administration”.

The new government also pledges to significantly cut the number of health quangos, reduce the cost of NHS administration by a third and transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the frontline.

Copyright © Press Association 2010