RCGP warns White Paper reform could disrupt patient-doctor relationship

The RCGP has expressed 'grave' concerns over the White Paper reforms, despite recognising that it represents a good opportunity for GPs and the NHS.

The RCGP’s response to the White Paper consultation states that members are concerned that the ‘scale, pace and cost’ of the reforms will be disruptive.

‘Some of our members are not convinced that the scale of the changes proposed is justifiable, especially in the context of cost reductions,’ says the report.

‘Another concern is that public perception that services are set against practice income will disrupt trust in the crucial doctor-patient relationship, which underpins effective uptake of services and clinical interventions.’

The report does say, however, that many GPs are enthusiastic about the reforms and the opportunity to shape services for their patients.

‘Many of our members, particularly those fresh from training or in the first few years of practice, are keen to participate in the commissioning of services. They see inefficiencies that currently exist and already have ideas about how to address them.’

The RCGP calls for greater detail on how consortia will be organised and further explanation of the training that GPs will receive to support their commissioning role.

Finally the report mentions the ‘grave concerns’ that the White Paper’s ‘any willing provider’ policy could have on the NHS.

Further involvement of the for-profit sector ‘could undermine the essential ethos of the NHS,’ says the report.

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