GPs not reassured by Health Bill changes, RCGP poll shows

The vast majority of GPs have not be reassured by the changes to the Health Bill, with many still opposed to the general direction of the NHS reforms, an RCGP survey shows.

A poll of 500 GPs shows 85% said they had not been reassured by the government’s response to the listening exercise, with a further 62% saying their support for the reforms has not been altered by the changes to the Health Bill.

It comes as the BMA voted to launch a public campaign calling for the withdrawal of the Health Bill.

The RCGP poll shows 49% of GPs said they are opposed to the general direction of the reforms, compared with 29% who back changes.

Many concerns centred on the increased bureaucracy in the NHS, the impact on patient care and the cost of the re-organisation.

A total of 48% say the reforms will not improve healthcare outcomes, while a further 65% say health inequalities will not be reduced as a result of the changes.

Meanwhile, 70% of GPs say the reforms will not reduce bureaucracy in the NHS, while only 14% agreed the reforms will lower transaction costs in the NHS.

The survey also shows 62% of GPs do not want to be personally involved on the board of a clinical commissioning group.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said: 'The RCGP has welcomed the government’s continued response to our concerns regarding the Health Bill, but this snapshot survey of our membership shows that there are still a lot of GPs on the ground who are yet to be convinced of the proposed benefits of these reforms.

'We still have concerns – concerns that 70% of respondents share – that there is a vastly increasing bureaucracy that, rather than freeing consortia to commission what is appropriate locally and lead service redesign, will instead constrain it further. What we want to see is a health service that leaves GPs free to lead, to provide high quality care, and to develop services with our patients, but with the new announcements the structure of the NHS is looking even more confusing, and we have heard we will now go from 163 statutory organisations to 521.'

To see the progress of the Bill view our interactive timeline

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