GPs opposing Tory Health Bill

Marching against the privatisation of GP surgeries in Camden
Marching against the privatisation of GP surgeries in Camden

A survey of East Sussex GPs has found that more than 70 per cent of them fear patient care will suffer when changes to the NHS are given the go-ahead.

The vast majority of GPs surveyed slammed government plans to put GP consortia in charge of health care.

Just 7.7 per cent of respondents were convinced that GP consortia will be up to the task.

Although 58 per cent of GPs consulted believe too much money is wasted on bureaucracy in the NHS, just three in the group of 26 fully approved government proposals to hand purchasing power to GPs.

Under government plans, GP consortia will replace the East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust by 2013 and will be responsible for buying 80 per cent of health services.

Dr Michael von Fraunhofer, of the Eastbourne consortium steering committee, said local consortia could be hamstrung with more than £30 million in debt from the outgoing PCT.

He warned: ‘This will cripple patient care and the blame will fall on GPs unfairly. No matter how good, dynamic or inventive we are we will be making massive cuts in choice and services just to stay afloat.’

Meanwhile, private health firm Care UK has won a £53m prison hospitals contract, despite an NHS bid offering a better service.

The company has won the contract to run health services at eight jails in north east England, with its cheaper, lower quality bid.

About 200 nurses’ jobs and pay could be under threat.

Glenn Turp, of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was worried about infection control as Care UK ‘had no plans in place’.

An NHS executive who lost the contract, Les Morgan, sent an angry email to the North-East Offender Health Commissioning Unit which decides who should run healthcare at the eight jails.

Morgan wrote: ‘Our bid was judged better on quality, delivery and risk.

‘We are keen to understand the large difference in scoring on price.’

Care UK’s then boss John Nash and wife Caroline donated £200,000 to the Tories before the general election, including £21,000 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s private office.