UK GP privatisation shocks world doctors

Privatisation in UK general practice has had a negative impact on GPs around the world, said the president of World WONCA

Prof Chris van Weel said it had shocked many family doctors that it could happen in the NHS.

‘For many years I think many of us thought primary care in the UK was the jewel in the crown of healthcare. And then came privatisation.

‘It put reform and disillusionment in Britain,’ he said.

He said that UK general practice had undergone an ‘epidemic of health care reform’.

He said that GPs around the world were also reeling from it.

‘It had an enormous effect among GPs in Europe and other countries. The fact that it could all change is something we’re still struggling with – suddenly Britain has become vulnerable.’

As well as reform, primary care had changed into a world of many coalitions, he said.

Now GPs worked alongside many other health care practitioners.

One positive aspect of this was that it has reduced divisions between doctors in primary and secondary care.

‘The quarrels between specialists and GPs are becoming less and less because we can’t afford to fight within our own profession any more.’

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