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NHS shakeup: do GPs want this happen?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 12 July 2010

While the College of General Practitioners welcomes giving more powers to doctors in the coalition's health review, a GP writes for Channel 4 News on the anxious uncertainty ahead.

General image (Getty)

GP practices are to be handed responsibility for most health services under supposedly 'new' proposals.

Do you remember GP fund holders under the last Conservative government? Is that not the same unpopular idea where only 50 per cent of the GPs signed for? The Tories are recycling failed ideas under different names.

Do the GPs want this to happen? Do they have the resources and the skills to run it in very difficult financial times? What I know is the fact that this is another untried, unproven idea that we (professionals working in the NHS) have to go through.

More from Channel 4 News
- GPs 'to get control of NHS funds'
- Warning over £80bn GP fund-holding plans

Despite the reassurance from the government that health will be protected in the coming austerity years, we know the health service will look different under the current Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition.

There is a lack of clarity about the policies regarding health. Not long ago the Conservative white paper wanted only the essential services to be on the NHS. Many in the health service think that this will be the case in few years but the steps that will lead us to that stage, only the politicians will know.

People working in the health service are clear about their aims: providing the best care to our patients. We are sick of the untested theories and frankly very anxious about what will happen next.

Royal College of General Practitioners welcomes health review
"It is important that GPs should be leading the NHS at all levels and that we should be the ones making decisions with our patients about their care - but we must be given the appropriate resources and support to do this," the RCGP told Channel 4 News in a statement.

"GPs work at the heart of communities; we know our patients and we understand their needs. If this is properly delivered and properly resourced, patients can expect to receive far more personalised services, focused on their individual needs. By giving GPs real influence to control budgets and commission services, we will enable patients to receive high quality care and better continuity of care where they want it, close to where they live.

"This is what GPs – and patients – have been calling for and there are some parts of the country where it is already happening with excellent results."

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