GPs say reforms will damage doctor-patient relationship, BMA poll finds

Nearly three quarters of GPs think GP commissioning will damage their relationship with patients, a BMA survey shows.

Dr Meldrum: Mr Lansley needs to act on the concerns about competition
Dr Meldrum: Mr Lansley needs to act on the concerns about competition

The wide-ranging poll highlights a number of serious concerns among GPs about the reforms, particularly around the impact of GP commissioning on patient care and the drive to increase competition in the NHS.

The BMA said it shows that the government can no longer claim widespread support among doctors for the reforms. It urged the government to act on the concerns raised by doctors.

The survey, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI, showed 72% think GP commissioning will damage the GP-patient relationship.

It showed 63% of GPs say more management responsibility is unwelcome, with a further 77% believing they will spend less time with patients after the reforms.

The survey also showed that GPs have a number of concerns around GP commissioning, with 53% disagreeing that GP commissioning will make the NHS more efficient. A further 61% say GP commissioning will increase health inequalities

Fears were also raised around the impact of the ‘any willing provider’ policy and the duty of Monitor to promote competition. Just 12% believe that increased competition will improve patient care, while only 15% think it will make the NHS more efficient.

BMA chairman of council Dr Hamish Meldrum said the government cannot afford to dismiss the concerns of doctors. ‘The secretary of state has repeatedly said he wants to listen to doctors,' he said.

'Doctors are telling him that whole rafts of these proposals will either not achieve the intended benefit to patients, or will be harmful. He particularly needs to act on the concerns about competition.’

The survey of BMA members showed:

  • 72% think GP commissioning will damage GP-patient relationship
  • 63% believe the reforms will have a negative impact on their role
  • 53% disagree that GP commissioning will make the NHS more efficient
  • 23% think GP commissioning will improve the quality of patient care
  • 12 % think increased competition will improve patient care
  • 2% think change in the NHS is well managed
  • 87% think there is too much change for change’s sake

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