GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘That is at the core of the reforms. And we have particular concerns about the impact of the reforms on the patient-doctor relationship.
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‘I think Clare is echoing the concerns of the members. They are the same GPs who are contacting us expressing deep concerns about the direction of travel. They want more clinical involvement in commissioning, but fear that the Health Bill will actually undermine engagement.’
NHS Alliance senior commissioning adviser Dr David Jenner said: ‘I think she certainly captured the mood of the audience, from their reaction, and in my view the mood of the vast majority of GPs.
‘I am a passionate commissioner. I don’t think Clare is saying GPs should not be involved in commissioning, but she is saying there are tough decisions that are for democratically elected politicians to be accountable for. The responsibility should not be passed on to local GPs.’
Dr Jenner added: ‘Even the biggest advocates of commissioning would say competition should be a tool in the hands of commissioners, not a religion that they should have to subscribe to.
‘There are instances when it can work, but commissioners should not be slaves to it, which is a bit like what the Health Bill is suggesting.’