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GPs sceptical over government’s NHS overhaul plans

8 October 2010

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Fewer than one in four GPs believe the government’s planned overhaul of the NHS will benefit patients, according to a poll.

The BBC survey of 827 doctors found just 23% said putting GPs in control of the health service budget would be of benefit to patients, while 45% said it would not and 32% did not express an opinion.

Only 25% of GPs are prepared to take on extra responsibility with regards to planning and buying in services, compared with 57% who said they would not do it and 18% who did not give an opinion.

The online survey, which was carried out between 23-30 September, found that a majority of GPs were doubtful over their ability to take charge of commissioning in several key areas such as cancer, emergency hospital care, mental health and paediatrics.

The belief that the planned reforms would lead to the private sector taking on more responsibility within the NHS was held by seven out of 10 of those surveyed.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The questions asked in this survey are misleading about the government’s policy proposals.

“We are not asking GPs individually to take on commissioning responsibility. However, if a quarter of GPs are prepared to take on the extra responsibility, it’s a powerful indication of the existing willingness to implement our reforms.

“With two-and-a-half years with which to learn from pathfinder commissioning consortia and establish shadow arrangements, there is ample time for practices that do not yet feel ready to build capability collectively. We intend to put in place support arrangements to help practices develop capability.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health