13 Jul 10
By Gareth Iacobucci
The Government's radical commissioning reforms have left many GPs feeling like 'rabbits in the headlights', according to the chair elect of the RCGP.
Speaking at a King's Fund conference on commissioning today, Dr Clare Gerada spoke out against health secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans for all GPs to take on commissioning, warning that it could cause a backlash from patients if GPs were taken away from their day jobs as family doctors.
Dr Gerada, who officially takes over as chair of the College in November, also warned attendees from both the NHS and the private sector that the plans would be tested by GPs natural reluctance to 'go to the dark side' by teaming up with private firms to deliver the Government's agenda through risk-sharing partnerships.
She told NHS managers at the event: 'We need your help. For most GPs, it's like rabbits in the headlights. There is also a natural disinclination to working with external organisations, for fear of going to the dark side and being part of the privatisation agenda.'
Dr Gerada said it was important that GPs primary roles as doctors were not forgotten, and warned that gaps in clinical knowledge required to commission some complex secondary care would need to be addressed.
She said: 'It's important we don't think all GPs will commission. 1-2% of GPs will have leadership positions. Otherwise, there will be an enormous backlash, because we still have to see the patients.'
Listen up, Mr Lansley. Most GPs don't give a fig about commissioning
“What they understand by 'giving power' to GPs is not what we understand. For them it is actually about devolving responsibility, so the problem no longer sits on their desks. A problem with chiropody? That’s a commissioning issue, you need to talk to GPs about this. But the power? That stays with those who set the budget, and there is absolutely no way that any politician will divest themselves of that.”
But what was it about Balzac?
Well it was a little book I was reading when not under water:
Two young men, one the son of two doctors and one, of a dentist were sent to a remote village to be re-educated: by farming.
There was no choice; their parents too were now farming: bare-foot doctors took over.
Yet people were resilient and creative, when they wanted a feast, they pretended that a buffalo had an accident. When food ran out, they sucked pebbles dipped in salt solution. But reading Balzac was their ultimate salvation!
Then they met the little seamstress........
Looks like our 35,000 GPs had no choice but to take up commissioning (well, not farming!!!) and 64,000 at PCTs and others might be gardening. But hang on, I suspect that 30,000 will be helping GPs with their
farming commissioning, having collected good redundancy packages and a pensions.