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RCGP challenges Health Bill

The UK's Royal College of General Practitioners has released a report demanding updates to the government's Health Bill to 'protect the principles of the NHS'

The UK's Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has released a report demanding updates to the government's Health Bill to 'protect the principles of the NHS'.

'The Government's Health Reforms: An Analysis of the Need for Clarification and Change' (PDF download) calls for the government to amend or clarify several aspects of the bill, including issues related to EU competition law; working and training issues; and the way healthcare is charged.

Specific recommendations for the Bill provided by the RCGP include not charging patients for healthcare services that are currently provided free by the NHS or are recommended by NICE; providing assurance that the Bill will not force doctors to breach their duty of confidentiality; and placing a duty on health watchdog Monitor, the NHS National Commissioning Board and GP commissioning consortia to enable collaboration to provide integrated services to meet patients' needs without fear of a competition referral.

Evidence against the need for large-scale reorganisation of UK healthcare is also provided by the report.

In an accompanying letter to Prime Minister David Cameron (PDF download), RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said that, although the RCGP welcomed parts of the bill putting GPs at the heart of planning services for patients, and an increased focus on prevention and reducing health inequalities, there were a "number of serious concerns" with the Bill as it stands.

"The reforms promote competition without sufficient clarification of how services to patients will be safeguarded and improved," she said. "We believe that provider-side reforms could deal with many of the issues without the need for repeated organisational change or by many of the proposed reforms."

9th May 2011

From: Healthcare

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