The Government and Department of Health recently announced pilots for commuters to be able to able to register with GP practices near their place of work. Tower Hamlets, City and Hackney, and Westminster are amongst the pilot sites.
There was an article in Pulse this past week which quoted some of the misgivings of affected LMCs (Local Medical Committees).
I posted the following comment to the Pulse article (as well as the similar story in GP Online):
I have been thinking about this issue for some time now. I know that a minority of GPs are ‘excited’ by it, but I am not clear why. I practice in Tower Hamlets; when people move away, it becomes in many ways unworkable to continue to look after them as patients. This has been our experience. Yes, there are some groups of patients who need a workable solution: use a sensible methodology to find that solution, but be clear-headed and honest about the risks and problems.
I fear that this whole ‘Choice’ issue is just a Trojan horse. The Choice offered is an illusion, and hidden within this horse are all sorts of problems, unintended consequences, anomalies. I hope in the coming months this issue will be aired, the deceptions made clear. It is essentially a fraud. The ultimate aim (covert) is the de-regulation of English general practice. De-regulation in the sense that financial services were (under concerted pressure from lobbyists) de-regulated, leading to financial gains for some, but (undeclared) risks and subsequent losses for many clients. General practice without boundaries is, I think, the Holy Grail for some. But it won’t give us good quality, community based, integrated, family medicine. Indeed, it will undermine it.
This story will develop in the coming months, as the practicalities begin to bite.
Good article refering particularly to choice of GP. Generally we are able now to change if we are not happy with the GP we have; so where’s the need? Why is money being wasted on this unecessary pilot?
I abhor this government’s obsession with choice. They pretend that patients want choice but only those who can afford it will be able to exercise it. I fear that the choice will come down to how much you can pay representing what quality of service you are offered. Just look at patients in the USA, some of whom are still living in the Wild West in their minds and cannot differentiate between socialism and communism.
In my experience patients don’t really want to chose; they want the GP or consultant to make treatment decisions. And, after all, these are the people on whom we should be able to rely to make the best choice, on our behalf, for our treatment. As they have done since 1948. They are qualified to make INFORMED decisions, unlike most of the general public.
The Government pilot scheme will be declared a roaring success (despite all the evidence to the contrary).
This will lead the way for private companies to stick large general practice warehouses on the ring roads of all of our major towns. They will be open 365 days a year and no less than 14 hours a day for those people who fancy a bit of health shopping. This will obviously be to the detriment of traditional general practice.
The medical staff who work in these large privately run facilities will all have foregone their NHS pension since they will be working for private companies.We will be paying the highest price for the least quality and the statistics will all show that’s what we want.
Continuity of care, patient relationship, variation in approach and patient choice will be wiped out.