The first in-depth research into patients’ views on the Health Bill suggests patients are happy with primary care and are unsure why the reforms are necessary.
Others were unaware of the proposed changes, or of how they would affect patient care. Study authors said practices should advise patient groups about the effect of the changes to ensure they understood.
Study lead Professor Helen Lester of the University of Birmingham told GP Daily there was a consistent message from patients: ‘The patients had what we felt would be a lot of experience of primary care. They worried about the speed of change, and they worried about whether we need the reforms.’
Researchers spoke with 52 patients who had at least one long-term condition in spring 2011. The in-depth interviews lasted an hour and focused on experiences of primary care and knowledge of the reforms.
Only half of participants were aware that the DoH was seeking to reorganise the NHS and few among those who had heard about the changes understood the implications.
Most already thought their care was good and none of the patients complained about the care they had received.