Published: 26/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5957 Page 22
Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive, NHS Confederation
I was puzzled to read comments attributed to primary care trust chief executives' network lead Edna Robinson which suggested she was blaming PCT managers for prime minister Tony Blair's election embarrassment on the GP access target (news, page 7, 5 May).
We are sure she did not intend to jump on the manager-bashing bandwagon and that she would agree that this is a more complex problem than simply pinning the blame on one group of individuals.
PCTs have made tremendous progress by ensuring that almost 100 per cent of patients requiring urgent GP appointments are now able to secure them - they deserve praise, not blame, for that achievement.
And if the access target has had unintended consequences, by making it impossible for some patients to pre-book appointments in a minority of GP practices, we need to tackle that issue head-on rather than looking for scapegoats.
The current review of the new GP contract being undertaken by NHS Employers will do just that, by examining those parts of the general medical services contract which relate to the 48-hour target on primary care services.