- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
In a shocking revelation, it has come to light that the controversial Government plans to reform NHS pensions could put an extra £230,000 burden on GPs over their career. It has been reported that BMA forecasts have revealed that the NHS pension reforms made by the Government earlier this year are already raiding GPs up to £125,000 each over the course of their lifetimes.
Further, GPs will lose £124,500 by the time they reach 85, if the proposal produced in April, involving shift from use of the retail price index to the lower consumer price index to uplift NHS pensions, is passed.
Reacting to the unjustifiable changes to the financially healthy pension scheme, Dr. Hamish Meldrum, chair of the BMA council, said: “his isn’t about affordability; it’s about the Treasury looking for yet another quick hit from public sector workers. Doctors pursuing a career as a consultant or GP will have to pay significantly higher contributions in return for a much reduced pension at retirement”.
Exclusive GPs have been forced to formally complain to PCTs over a series of technical and administrative problems with referral management centres, with one practice claiming a quarter of its referrals have been rejected.
In NHS West Essex, GPs have been left frustrated by rejections and the insistence of administrators that referrals are resubmitted, sometimes several times, without having been triaged by its Central Referral Service.
Examples of rejections include a referral to a surgeon for diagnosis and removal of a lump refused because a minor surgery proforma was not attached, and a gynaecology referral refused ‘in error’.
A GP in Uttlesford, Essex, who wished not to be named, said: ‘I am vehemently opposed to referral management systems. It is intensely frustrating and is not working for administrative reasons and ludicrous technical problems.’
A practice manager at a practice in Essex claimed a quarter of its referrals had been rejected by the referral triage system: ‘I feel our patients are suffering. So many receive letters stating their appointments have been cancelled.’
The NHS is spending nearly £16million a year paying recruitment firms to headhunt senior executives … it was revealed yesterday.
In one example, a primary care trust paid an agency more than £111,000 to fill the post of its chief executive, only to later promote its own deputy into the role.
The vast expenditure comes despite Government promises to cut back on “wasteful bureaucracy” among health trusts.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has pledged to reduce money spent on managers and pen-pushers by 45 per cent over the next four years. Hospitals are also being forced to axe thousands of front-line staff in an effort to save the NHS billions of pounds.
Yesterday, Freedom of Information figures revealed primary care trusts and strategic health authorities spent an estimated £15.9million paying recruitment firms to hire new managers.
PCTs struggle to justify Darzi centres after revelations of low patient numbers
Statistics from over 95 PCTs have revealed that 26% of Darzi centres have fewer than 500 registered patients, and that 35% had fewer than 1,000 patents.
The new information was gained through the Freedom of information Act and revealed via investigation by GP online that also found that over 12% of all Darzi centres had no registered patients whatsoever (though some stated that they did not offer this option). One of the centres had just a single registered patient.
Each PCT was forced to set up a Darzi centre under the previous government as part of a plan to provide primary patient care seven days a week between the hours of 8am and 8pm each day.
The centres cost around £1.1m each year and the General Practitioners Committee’s (GPC) negotiator, Dr Peter Holden, has stated that the on reflection the centres were “a massive waste of money”, saying that it was “outrageous” that centres had failed to register fewer than 500 patents.
Adelaide Surgery in Southampton has just 1,220 patients registered, GP Online reveals, despite receiving £907,000 in 2011/12, which means the centre receives around £743 per patient per year – or seven times as most GP practices.
[I need to check, but I think that the real issue about Darzi centres (Polyclinics) is that PCTs were forced to provide them by government ~ Darzi clinics being the latest policy fad. ‘The Plot Against the NHS’ by Colin Leys and Stewart Player discusses Darzi clinics.]