It seems GPs are not really up for being put “in the driving seat” of NHS reform.
Widely reported on Monday was a survey for the King’s Fund in which only one in four GPs said they thought the Liberating the NHS white paper plans would improve patient care. Usefully, 62 per cent thought other doctors were equipped to take on commissioning, but not them.
The Guardian claimed health secretary Andrew Lansley would encounter “trench warfare with senior doctors” if he pressed on with the shake-up.
In the same paper, Royal College of GPs chair Steve Field got in a colourful Coleridge based metaphor to illustrate the unresolved issue of whether consortia will take on existing PCT deficits. He warned of “an inherited flock of financial albatrosses for the new GP consortia, which would be unfair”.
The government maintained the NHS budget was given real terms growth in Wednesday’s spending review, as promised. But NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards got himself quoted all over the place on Saturday with a letter to The Daily Telegraph, in which he warned about the effect of slashing council budgets.
He wrote that local government cuts would lead to bed blocking because “less support from council services will quickly lead to increased pressure on emergency services and hospitals”.
Moving on to less sober material, the Mirror screamed on Monday about “anger over NHS chiefs’ booze binge”, after it was revealed managers at an ambulance trust had been reprimanded for getting “drunk out of their minds”.
A “development session” at a hotel to think of ways the trust could improve its public image had unintended consequences when nine senior staff at South East Coast Ambulance Trust reportedly became overly refreshed.
The Telegraph quoted a guest at the hotel who said the trouble began after one of them “produced a guitar and started strumming singalong tunes”. It is not known whether the incident will affect the trust’s chances of getting foundation status.