The managing director of Gateway Kent is one person who is relieved to see the Royal College and the government working together. “We can appreciate that the government need to make changes to the NHS in order to make ends meet, but it is important that they consider the views of professionals like the Royal College of GPs. That way the public can be sure its best interests will be kept in mind.”
Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College, said members had not changed opinion but were willing to help "find a way forward". She added that the Royal College still wanted the bill to be withdrawn but it was time to "stop polarizing" the debate.
The bill aims to allow more private companies and voluntary organizations to compete with NHS providers, something critics fear could undermine the drive towards the integration of care and lead to damage in the health service. Under proposed plans family GPs are expected to play a key role in managing the NHS budget. The RGGP initially approved of the plans but eventually came out against the bill, saying that, among other concerns, it could prove hugely expensive.
A source within Gateway Kent said; “This is a difficult situation. On one hand, it is vital that the NHS is urged to go that extra mile in order to serve its patients, and a little healthy competition would ensure this, but on the other hand we still have the economic crisis looming over us and Britain just doesn’t have the financial security to take big risks, especially where its health service is concerned.”
The source added; “Patients want doctors in charge of their medical care, not accountants and managers. I feel confident that the government will respect the wisdom and experience of the RGGP and that together they can find an acceptable way forward.”
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