NHS Confederation chief calls for greater GP leadership

The lack of a GP voice in government policy could be due to poor clinical leadership, NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards has suggested.

Nigel Edwards

Speaking in a discussion forum at health think tank the King’s Fund, he berated the negative out-look of some GPs and asked ‘where is the alternative vision for the NHS’ saying it was up to clinical leaders to make a case.

He said that only the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and pressure group Reform had offered any serious alternatives but that the RCP was focussed on just smoking, while he summarised the message of Reform as being ‘give us more money and leave us alone’.

BMA president Professor Parveen Kumar said that the issue was not a lack of clinical leaders and policy groups but that they all worked independently of each other.

Speaking at the same event, called ‘Can clinicians lead NHS reform’, RCGP chairman Dr Mayur Lakhani said that if clinicians were to have meaningful involvement it would have to start ‘from the top down’.

He suggested that governments employ GPs and other clinicians ‘at a ministerial level’ and look at whether practising doctors could be used to run NHS trusts.

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