The British Medical Association’s GP Committee has reiterated its opposition to two reforms set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, including the quality premium which it has denounced as “ethically dubious” and “utterly immoral”.
Leading committee members said they were angry the measure is still in the bill despite their repeated objections. If implemented the premium would give bonus payments to clinical commissioning groups that hit financial and performance targets.
Committee chair Lawrence Buckman said yesterday: “We are not going to have a quality premium. This is an entirely inappropriate use of public money, it is ethically dubious and most GPs would be very nervous at the suggestion that they might be taking money out of patient care to put it in their pockets.
“The idea that they should be reducing patient care and giving the money to GPs is utterly immoral. There is enormous opposition to this – and it’s still there.”
The committee also passed a motion yesterday opposing a provision in the bill which would give wide-ranging powers to the health secretary, Monitor and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to extract data from GP practices.
Dr Buckman said a key issue was that in its current form the bill would allow sensitive patient identifiable information to be removed.
He said that any data extraction should be done along the lines of the GP Extraction Service, the terms of which were announced last month. GPs have agreed with the NHS Information Centre that data returns should be anonymised, and practices or patients should have the right to opt out of any request.
Dr Buckman said: “There are some people who would be able to circumvent that. This is not acceptable.” He said the GP Committee had agreed yesterday that any extraction should be on the same terms as GPES.
“The NHS Information Centre are honest brokers in all this – we don’t have a problem giving them anonymised data, but we do have a problem with anybody, other than a medical colleague for medical reasons, having access to those data.”