It is not necessary to be an expert in modern history (or politics) to realise that advice from the BMA General Practitioners Committee (GPC) is in flux.
GPC Advice Earlier
The GPC has been prolific of late in issuing guidance on making commissioning work under the new structures proposed in NHS reforms. Some of these guides have been featured in this blog; click here for details.
GPC Advice Currently
The GPC has now moved to a position of opposition to the proposed changes. It recognises it is unreasonable to remove the new structures now in place, and intends to continue to issue advice to GPs on making clinical commissioning work to public advantage.
At a meeting last week, the GPC decided to affirm its opposition to the NHS Health and Social Care Bill. The bill would, it believes, damage the NHS irreversibly as a public service, by creating a competitive marketplace that could widen health inequalities and be detrimental to patient care. The bill could compromise the role of GPs in their relationships with patients. It is argued to be too complex, incoherent and not fit for purpose, while being impossible to implement successfully. It could arouse widespread opposition in the NHS workforce. It could actually increase NHS running costs due to the processes of competition, added bureaucracy and transaction costs.
The GPC still supports clinically led commissioning, but believes this can be achieved within existing legislation more effectively.
and GPC Advice in the Future…. ?
Who knows… ?
Attitudes change. Positions re-align over time. Memories fade. Even the most august of bodies have a tendency to behave as though clinically amnaesic. How many people today are aware that the BMA itself had grave misgivings about the very inception of the NHS until well into the mid-1940s? The BMA got over those.
Buckman, L. (2012). BMA letter opposing NHS reforms: Full text of letter sent by Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GPs committee, to 22,000 family doctors in England. Manchester: Guardian, March 1st 2012. This article was published on guardian.co.uk on Thursday March 1st 2012, and a version appeared in the Guardian on Friday 2 March 2012.