Buckman says NHS crumbling as privatisation starts and funding shrinks

The GPC chairman has said the crumbling of the NHS has begun after the introduction of a multitude of providers with ever-shrinking funding.

Dr Buckman: 'GPs are now threatened with time-limited contracts.'
Dr Buckman: 'GPs are now threatened with time-limited contracts.'

Dr Laurence Buckman told the BMA’s Annual Representatives' Meeting (ARM) in Bournemouth, Dorset, that GPs are fed up with being told that the NHS is theirs to run.

Delivering his fifth report as GPC chairman, he said the Health and Social Care Act is driven from the top of the NHS and the government.

He said: ‘The majority of GPs remain convinced that his Act risks endangering the NHS in England.

‘GPs do not support care delivered by a multitude of providers competing with each other for ever-shrinking funding. Even worse, there will be enforced procurement of practices through the private sector, even though GPs could deliver care just as well through normal contractual mechanisms. GPs are now threatened with time-limited contracts.’

He said: ‘As the NHS in all four countries lurches towards the buffers of financial and operational meltdown, we find that we are moving towards excessive regulation, bullying micromanagement and dissipated effort, despite the good relations between GPs and NHS management in many parts of the countries.’

He received a large round of applause when he said: ‘Furthermore, funding for patients will be top-sliced to pay for so-called quality rewards – paying GPs to cut corners on servicers on cost grounds. We will not agree to this unethical nonsense.’

He said few of the threats this year are new and the GPC have began warning about them for years but the waiting is over.

He said: ‘The crumbling has begun. We are not disheartened though. GPC will be out there telling the truth when others trip over their own propaganda.’

GPs were reminded that the GPC has to represents all GPs including those on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). 

The two good things that happened this year, according to Dr Buckman, were extending GP training to four years although he warned that the struggle now is to find a way to fund and implement it, and the hundredth birthday of the LMCs.

Dr Buckman said he would tell the Pay Review Body that GPs cannot raise extra income to pay to register with the Care Quality Commission, which is due to begin next April. He also called on the government to invest in GP premises if it wants to offer care closer to home.

* Follow Marina's tweets from the ARM @Marina_Soteriou #ARMLive

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