Exclusive: GPs back axing managers to save NHS cash

Axing NHS managers is GPs' preferred way of addressing the NHS funding shortfall, according to GP newspaper poll.

Poll reveals GPs back cutting managers to save cash (Photograph: iStock)
Poll reveals GPs back cutting managers to save cash (Photograph: iStock)

The finding comes a month after DoH workforce statistics showed the number of NHS managers had nearly doubled in the last decade.

The DoH says the NHS must cut costs by £20bn over the next five years as growth slows. A total of 88% of GPs who took part in the poll said NHS managers should be cut to achieve this.

70% want more self care to cut demand, and 45% think the NHS drugs bill can be cut.

Some GPs back more radical ideas. A handful of the 639 respondents advocated charging for some NHS services.

One partner in Kent backed a £10 fee for attending A&E and £5 for GP visits to reduce ‘frivolous attendances'. The fee should go to ‘the NHS, not the hospital or practice', he said.

Others said patients' expectations of the NHS must be reduced. ‘Stop constantly ballooning patient demands with an instant, 24-hour-access culture', wrote one partner.

Other comments hinted at growing tension between practices as funding dries up. ‘Stop paying PMS practices ridiculous sums agreed in different financial circumstances,' wrote a Warwickshire GP. ‘Pay per patient should be standardised.'

Just 4% of GPs suggested partners should cut profits. A total of 39% called for more GP commissioning power and 23% wanted more work to be passed to primary care from hospitals.

A spokesman for the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS managers, said there was a need to ‘streamline' management. But he said it accounted for just 5% of total NHS funding. ‘Savings are going to have to be made by looking at less popular options, like renegotiating services and contracts,' he said.

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