NHS shake-up unnecessary17th January 2011
Family doctors fear the scale of changes planned for the NHS in England is unnecessary.
Government proposals will see GP consortiums take over the management of the NHS and the end of primary care trusts.
But while Prime Minister David Cameron believes fundamental changes are needed in the NHS, doctors leaders say that GPs could simply have taken over the running of PCTs.
However, the Department of Health described PCTs as being “too remote” from patients.
A spokesman added: “Simply putting more GPs on a PCT board would not have delivered the changes that are necessary, and would have simply added more layers to the existing NHS bureaucracy.”
The concerns come as six health unions, including the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Unison, raised concerns about greater commercial competition between the NHS and private companies.
The reforms, encased in the Health and Social Care Bill, have sparked widespread concerns among doctors, nurses and hospital managers.
The NHS Confederation fears hospitals may have to close under the planned reforms while the Royal College of GPs said ministers could have given GPs more of an influence on PCT board.
The BMA also shared the view, as did David Stout, director of the PCT Network.
He said: “PCTs were improving all the time and could have adapted. It could have been another option, but it is too late now."
GP consortiums are already being piloted with a view to GPs taking over 80% of the NHS budget. Once the process is in place, the 151 PCTs will disappear.
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