Vast majority of GPs want the Health and Social Care Bill scrapped

By staff writers
13 Jan 2012

GPs have overwhelmingly backed moves for government's Health and Social Care Bill - which many see as a privatisation move - to be scrapped.

Over 98 per cent of respondents to a new poll called on the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to seek the withdrawal of the bill and to work with other Royal Colleges to that end.

The news comes as the government also faces mounting public and professional outrage over its Welfare Reform Bill, following a series of defeats in the House of Lords.

The GPs' survey, which polled nearly 2,600 doctors, was announced in December 2011 by RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada, to discover more about the position of College members on the coalition's controversial NHS reforms.

Over 98 per cent of respondents said they either strongly supported (66 per cent) or supported (32 per cent) asking for the health bill to be withdrawn as part of a joint approach with other medical Royal Colleges, reports PulseToday magazine.

Without joining forces with other Colleges, more than 90 per cent of respondents still said that they either strongly supported (56 per cent) or supported (37 per cent) the College in proceeding alone in calling for the bill's withdrawal.

Overall opposition to the health bill has remained largely constant since the last RCGP survey in October 2011. However, 60 per cent of those polled said that they felt more negative about the impact of the health bill on the NHS than they did previously, with just five per cent feeling more positive.

Fewer than 14 per cent of respondents said that they believed the reforms would result in better patient care. Almost 60 per cent believed, on the basis of their professional experience, that the government's reforms would not result in more cost-effective care delivery.

Virtually 90 per centof respondents said that government reforms would increase private sector involvement in the NHS, and more than three quarters said that the reforms would not reduce bureaucracy in the NHS.

As a result of the findings, the Royal College of General Practitioners is writing to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to restate its concerns about the health bill, and to call for substantial changes.

A GP is a medical practitioner who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education, usually at local or community level.

* Royal College of General Practitioners - http://www.rcgp.org.uk/

[Ekk/3]

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