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Scrap PFI schemes and the Patient Survey, suggests GPC chair

10 June 2010

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The GP Patient Survey and private finance initiative (PFI) schemes are just two of a number of areas that could be “consigned to the dustbin of history”, the chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee told the annual LMC conference in London this morning (10 June 2010).

Dr Laurence Buckman (pictured) suggested a range of areas which, due to the financial crisis, should be cut or reviewed in order to save the NHS money.

With NHS trusts under pressure to achieve up to £20bn of efficiency savings by 2014, Dr Buckman said: “Government must be determined to avoid wasteful and ‘unevidenced’ policies.”

The GP Patient Survey cost the government £13m in 2009 alone, he said, arguing that “detailed and relevant feedback” could be more usefully and more economically gathered locally from patient participation groups or local patient surveys

Dr Buckman said that “wasteful” PFI schemes, now funding more than 100 new hospital schemes, are set to cost the taxpayer £62.6bn by the time the final payments are made in 2048.

Management consultants, “micromanagement of GP practices” and the bureaucracy of the NHS market were further areas outlined by Dr Buckman as wasteful.

He also listed several areas he said should be reviewed by the government, including Choose and Book (“in practical terms it is often difficult for patients to exercise real choice”), the “consent to view” model of the summary care record (“the premature roll-out of this scheme is costly and inappropriate”) and the construction of new walk-in centres and Darzi clinics (“new centres should only be opened after adequate consultation”).

Dr Buckman also warned against “spending money we don’t have” on abolishing practice boundaries, which would not only be expensive but would “harm the NHS and patient care generally.”


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Thoroughly” – Mr S Kumar, London

“I agree, especially about the Patient Survey. The questions are a disgrace, slanted against GPs, and it is so long many people do not fill it in or stop halfway and a nil return is treated as a negative return, how can that possibly be an accurate picture  or fair for that matter? Darzi centre here opened about 400 metres from large hospital ie just a political move not related to patient need/demand. Given the area it is in many people won’t go to it, myself included! There are plenty of GP practices in the area, one less than 100 metres away. SCR is endless stream of paper mostly wasted, giving patients one pack for each family member, as instructed to do, is a complete nonsense but that is what we have been told to do, one pack and enough forms for one per family I can understand even if I think the whole thing is a waste as it is highly likely to be scrapped. We were told by the person responsible for local roll-out he believed it would be scrapped but we still had to go ahead; paper, delivery charges, translation charges, what a total waste” – Name and address withheld