Dr. Grumble responds to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s article.
GPs abandon UK as a response to ‘health reforms’.
Fears that GPs do not have the expertise to commission for particular needs.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Never in the history of the NHS has a parliamentary Bill met with the level of opposition that has met the Lansley Health and Social Care Bill. What Lansley lacks in drafting skills he makes up for with tenacity and nobody would be surprised to learn that he is now fighting a rearguard action to drive through the changes he and his henchman have decided are necessary. Now you might think that Grumble is a bit antagonistic towards Mr Lansley. And you would be right. But Grumble is a fair man and he likes to look at the evidence and, if there is no evidence, the arguments. So it was with interest that Grumble read Lansley’s recent article in the Telegraph. Unsurprisingly there is quite a lot wrong with it.
Now if Grumble were to write an article on the NHS he would start with a little homily about the wonders of the health service. It is the obvious way to start but we don’t get this from the Secretary of State. Oh no. Quite the opposite. He sees the NHS not as something to be valued and cherished but a burdensome yoke. Keeping it going as it is will inevtiably lead to a ‘crisis tomorrow’. What is his evidence? It is that there are ‘enormous financial pressures looming on the horizon’. You have heard it all before. This is the ‘something must be done’ argument which politicians use to justify almost anything that they want to change – especially when they have no better argument for change.
Wednesday, 12.15pm: Around 300 posts are to be axed across Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the new £289 million Peterborough City Hospital.
As revealed by the Evening Telegraph earlier today (1 June), the trust’s board spent yesterday afternoon locked in talks to decide how to find £38 million worth of savings in its 2011/12 budget.
Trust chairman Nigel Hards suggested that jobs could be lost, but only today has the scale of the losses been announced.
Exclusive: The Government’s plans for GP commissioning, threats to the NHS pension and successive falls in partners’ take-home pay have led to a sharp spike in the number of GPs leaving the UK to work overseas, according to recruitment agencies.
The medical recruitment company Austmedics told Pulse it has seen a rise of up to 40% in enquiries about jobs in Australia over the past year – with the number of GPs actually signing contracts up by a fifth.
It cited the NHS reforms and successive GP pay freezes as key factors in the increase, with salaried GPs in Australia able to earn anything from £80,000 to £190,000 – and pay an effective tax rate of just 15%.
The new figures come after a Pulse investigation last year revealed a surge in the number of foreign vacancies being advertised, with almost one in seven job listings now for a job abroad.
Guy Hazel, managing director of Austmedics, reported a ‘very significant rise’ in the number of GP partners leaving the UK. He is currently recruiting on behalf of 78 Australian practices, and has 36 GPs based in the UK who are in the process of signing contracts.
‘Usually we have salaried GPs and very few partners. However this year we have seen a large number of partners resigning and moving to Australia,’ he said.
‘GPs are considering going because of the relentless pace of change – the combination of commissioning and a general feeling that GPs are unappreciated.’
GPs, who would take over commissioning healthcare for people with learning disabilities under the Health and Social Care Bill, may lack the expertise to do so, it has been claimed.
Earlier this week, BBC’s Panorama exposed a pattern of abuse at Winterbourne View, a private hospital in Bristol for people with learning disabilities, complex needs and challenging behaviour. The case has resulted in four arrests and the suspension of 13 staff.
“The issue for me is that all the people at Winterbourne were funded by primary care trusts,” said Denise Platt, former chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Care Quality Commission’s predecessor. “You have to ask the question, linked to the NHS reforms, if you have GPs purchasing this care, does it leave the way open to more Winterbournes?”
Keith Smith, chief executive of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, did not believe that GPs had the specialist knowledge and expertise to commission services for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.
“Getting the commissioning right from this small group of people is a very specialist requirement,” said Smith, whose organisation advises on supporting people with challenging behaviour.
“Within the context of budget cuts, we are losing commissioners with expertise in this area because they are being made redundant.”