RCGP threatened with losing charitable status if too political

RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada has revealed the college was threatened with losing its charitable status if it was too political.

If you lose your status you lose bucket loads of money.'
If you lose your status you lose bucket loads of money.'

Dr Gerada told the NHS Confederation annual conference in Manchester on Friday that she was in ‘constant fear’ about what the college could say and sought legal advice.

She refused to tell GP magazine who made the threat or if it was made by a politician, but she did say: ‘We were warned that we risked losing our charitable status if the college was overtly political which would be disastrous for the college. If you lose your status you lose bucket loads of money.  

‘We were within our right and we were invited to discuss the Health and Social Care Bill. We were not being political. I was careful not to be party political which I am not. We were careful to stick to the remit. We were concerned that health services could be undermined. I was under a lot of pressure last year.’

The threat did not affect the college’s actions, according to Dr Gerada who added: ‘The college and its members were very brave and stood behind me when we were very much the only royal college speaking out about it at the time.’

Dr Gerada said there were two big issues with the NHS at the moment and it was going through a period of ‘phenomenal austerity at a time of major reform’.

On the reforms, she said: ‘The real fear is that it will increase cost, introduce co-payments and increase fragmentation.’

She said this year’s NHS Confederation conference for NHS managers and providers, seemed less miserable than last year's but there was still a lot of anxiety.

‘We have to move onwards. We have to make this work. We have to support GPs to make this work’, she said.

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