GPs must focus on quality during pause in reform

General practice must focus on providing patient-centred care while uncertainty around the future of the Health Bill continues, the RCGP chairwoman has said.

Dr Clare Gerada: 'chaos and confusion' must not distract GPs
Dr Clare Gerada: 'chaos and confusion' must not distract GPs

Speaking at the NICE Annual Conference 2011 in Birmingham last week, Dr Clare Gerada said GPs should concentrate on delivering quality care during the 'chaos and confusion' of the current delay to the NHS reforms.

'Quality means being able to access a GP,' she said. 'It's about patient-centred care - making it work for patients, putting them at the heart of what we do.'

She added: 'We must keep those values close to us no matter what's going on around us.'

Her comments came a day after the RCGP wrote to prime minister David Cameron calling for significant changes to the Health Bill and issued a briefing on 'the need for clarification and change' in the Bill.

Dr Gerada said it had been a 'busy time in the past 24 hours'. She said improving GPs' quality of care was about 're-energising the profession and patient trust'.

But she warned: 'How can we improve quality when discussions are all about who's on the board of NHS Commissioning Board?'

Former RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field, who is leading the listening exercise's NHS Future Forum, also spoke at the conference.

He said the pause in reforms during the listening exercise had led to some unwanted effects.

Professor Field said some PCTs were telling GP consortia to hold back from developing pathfinder work, while other consortia pushed ahead. 'Whereas, actually the message is to continue your work developing your commissioning groups,' he said.

Professor Field said it was important to continue with pathfinder work so that GPs could influence contracts that PCTs were drawing up during the handover process.

Meanwhile, the NHS Confederation and the BMA have urged a quick resolution to the stalemate over the Bill to avoid disorder in the NHS.

Stephen Robinson

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