Guest Editorial - Let's not sacrifice quality of care for the reforms

To call it the '11th hour' might seem dramatic, but the past two weeks have seen a great deal of talk from all sectors about how medical professionals can, together, continue to influence the Health and Social Care Bill as it moves into the report stage at the House of Lords.

Speculation may fill column inches, but at this late stage it is important to concentrate on the facts of the matter.

The publication last month of the health select committee report into public service spending - which shared a lot of our concerns - reassured us that the message is getting through to key players in the corridors of power, and that the college, and the profession at large, are not lone voices.

Our position at the RCGP has been resolute; our concerns, expressed early and reiterated at every opportunity, remain and as yet have not been addressed in a way that we feel guarantees the safety of our patients or the continuance of the high-quality care they rightly expect. We have been, and remain, determined to keep doing the very best we can for our members and the patients and communities they serve.

'Business as usual' may seem worlds away from the reality we face, and in times of uncertainty, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, that being the unique relationship between doctors and patients, which is at the heart of everything we do.

Continuity and stability, which GPs are working to maintain in these disrupting times, are vital to providing excellent care for our patients and these things should not be sacrificed on the altar of reform.

It is not too late to encourage change, but to do so we must be firm in our convictions, and continue to make our voices heard even in the face of yet greater uncertainty.

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