RCGP chairwoman says Health Bill undermined focus on GP training

By Abi Rimmer, 06 February 2012

Dr Gerada is working hard to fight the Bill and says other RCGP priorities have suffered as a result.

Dr Gerada: working 20-hour days

Dr Gerada: working 20-hour days

The RCGP's efforts to block the Health Bill have undermined the college's work on other priorities and forced its chairwoman to work 20-hour days, GP can reveal.

Speaking to GP ahead of the college's decision to adopt a stance of outright opposition to the Health Bill, Dr Clare Gerada hit out at the impact of the fight against the Bill.

The amount of time that the college has spent on opposing the Bill has left other RCGP work overshadowed, she said.

'It's distracting us all, this unnecessary, expensive Bill.'

Dr Gerada said that issues such as enhancing GP training, improving general practice and tackling health inequalities were being overlooked because of the amount of time the Bill was taking up.

'I am working 20-hour days, because 12 of those hours are spent working on the Bill. The RCGP policy team is focusing everything on the Bill when it should be focusing on the resubmission for extending GP training to four years,' she said.

Asked whether she thought there was any chance of the Bill being withdrawn, Dr Gerada said: 'The fat lady hasn't sung yet, I have to be hopeful.

'When all this is finished wouldn't it be good to have a significant event analysis on the Bill's impact? There needs to be a national discussion about how we can address the problems in the NHS, because this Bill isn't going to address them.'

The RCGP's main points of contention are a weakening of the health secretary's responsibility to provide a free NHS, the threat of cherry picking and plans for competition, Dr Gerada said.

Dr Gerada added: 'If I had a message for Andrew Lansley it would be to ask: "What is it in the Bill that you need to achieve the results you want? We can do most of it without the need for legislation".'

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