Video: Threat to community services, warns GPC

This year's sudden reorganisation of community services will damage patient care and restrict GPs' access to district nurses and health visitors, according to the GPC.

PCTs are currently handing over control of community services to providers such as acute trusts or social enterprises under the Transforming Community Services plans, originally published in January last year.

But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said in a video interview with Healthcare Republic that due to financial pressure on trusts, the reforms were being implemented earlier than expected and without local consultation.

 ‘This flouts every one of the Darzi principles. Decisions are being made without GPs' input, very fast,' said Dr Buckman.

'Within the next few weeks, GPs will notice the service from their community matrons, district nurses, and physios will either vaporise or turn up in some other guise where cost has been reduced.

‘If patients don't notice, GPs sure will,' he said.

Dr Buckman added that community nurses are more likely to be ‘grabbed to work in hospitals' if they are employed by acute trusts.

The GPC is working with other unions and the RCN to help staff affected by the plans, said Dr Buckman.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said GPs working in community hospitals are already being offered contracts that could compromise NHS benefits they have earned.

He advised GPs to speak to an industrial relations officer at the BMA before signing new contracts.

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