David Blackburn

Lansley tries to reassure the doubters

Lansley tries to reassure the doubters
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Andrew Lansley has been on the defensive today, calmly reassuring the political nation that GPs are content with his NHS commissioning reforms. A majority of GPs are not at all happy, according to a Com Res BBC poll. 57 percent are unwilling ‘personally to take on the extra responsibility of planning and buying healthcare’ for their local communities. There are a number of reasons for their wariness, but lack of skill and training is the predominant one.

Lansley says that GPs favour the reforms in principle – measures that turn GPs into suzerains, able to improve outcomes by designing patient care to local and individual needs and also to take responsibility so that failures can be swiftly reversed.  But the Health Secretary concedes that there are reservations about the reform in practice. He hopes to convince the doubters that the reform timetable is generous, so consortia have time to acclimatise to change; he is also reiterating that GPs won’t be encumbered with administration’s tedious minutiae; to that end, he has promised that consortia can consult external management consultants when necessary. There will be an enormous bill if 57 percent of consortia remain unwilling to take responsibility, a cost to be added to the £1.7bn already being spent on this restructuring.