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Could Reforms Diminish Patient Trust in GP’s?

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The current health reforms could see patients lose trust in GP’s according to a Bedfordshire GP.

He claims that delicate decisions could be undermined by potential financial gains and could result in no trust between patients and GP’s. His view that payment by result is a “hideous undercurrent” in Lansley’s bill was the general consensus agreed in the open debate this week. The debate concluded that unless the government could confirm to whom they owe their primary responsibility then there is a high risk of losing the trust of their patients.

Dr Iona Heath, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), and speaking at the event, added that “we need to make it clear that there is a limit to which we will respond to ethically dubious financial incentives. Only then can we begin to provide the urgently necessary critique of the pervasiveness of financial conflicts of interests within policy making in the NHS.”

She suggested that the government’s reorganisation of the NHS could result in patients no longer being “bound by mutual responsibility,” but merely becoming consumers, adding that, allowing GP’s a better understanding of the government’s political economic agenda might be helpful in gaining a clearer insight into the situation.

However, not all attendees were so pessimistic in view of the proposed reforms. A Yorkshire GP argued that GP’s are “in the best position to make these decisions,” given that they are the patient’s advocates.

David Cameron has already this week outlined some of the changes that will be made to the original reform bill, and these too have been met with criticism.

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