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GPs remain pessimistic about NHS reform success

20 April 2012

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GPs are “extremely uncertain” about how the NHS reforms will affect their finances, research suggests. 

Lloyds TSB Commercial’s Healthcare Index shows 94% of GPs expect further financial pressures over the next five years and 92% anticipate increased competition in the market during the same period.

Over 81% also expect a rise in the number of larger practices, potentially arising from the formation of clinical commissioning groups.

The Index findings suggest GP confidence in the future of the healthcare sector is low, certainly much less positive than pharmacists and dentists.

GPs registered -61 when asked a number of questions regarding their confidence in the future of the NHS, compared with -50 among pharmacists and -26 among dentists.

 In fact, GPs’ collective long-term confidence (gauged over five years) fell even further to -81.

 Worryingly for CCGs, nearly half (49 per cent) of GPs still remain split over whether a move to clinically-led commissioning groups is a good thing.

“An uncertain regulatory future, coupled with fears over increasing financial pressures appears to have left GPs worried about their ability to protect profits in the face of greater private sector competition,” said Ian Crompton, Head of Healthcare Banking Services for Lloyds TSB Commercial.

“However, it may be that negativity surrounding such reforms can be improved once GPs get a clearer picture of exactly how their new operating landscape will work.

“As with any significant change, those most able to take advantage of new arrangements will be the ones who adapt the quickest, looking for fresh opportunities and new partnerships.”

More optimistically, 51% of GPs surveyed indicated they would like to own their own premises at some point in the future.