The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has branded Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham’s plans for NHS as destructive.
Speaking in response to Burnham’s Labour Conference speech, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said: “The College has grave concerns about Andy Burnham’s proposals to create hospital-led integrated care organisations.
“His plans could destroy everything that is great and that our patients value about general practice and could lead to the demise of family doctoring as we know it.”
Burham’s plans include asking “hospital trusts and other NHS bodies to evolve into NHS integrated care organisations, working from home to hospital coordinating all care – physical, mental and social”.
Dr Baker said that more reorganisation would be “just as disruptive, causing even more upheaval for patients and distracting doctors and managers away from what really matters – delivering excellent patient care”.
She said: “GPs want to work as part of wider clinical teams to ensure that the NHS can provide a single service to each patient, instead of the fragmented approach that too often is experienced by patients today. But it makes no sense for hospitals – organisations that provide acute, intermittent and specialist care – to lead on the delivery of person-centred, continuous and co-ordinated care.
“The College is positive about integrated care. We are positive about working with colleagues right across the NHS. But the model that Andy Burnham is proposing simply will not work.”
The RCGP has launched its own manifesto with five tests for effective integrated care which include ensuring community-based services are led by community-based clinicians with a person-centred perspective and underpinning safe patient care by ensuring that GPs can continue to act as independent advocates for their patients, with the emphasis on the person not the institution.