RCGP denies backing DoH plan to abolish practice boundaries

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

Healthcare Republic | Julie Griffiths | 9 November 2009

The RCGP chairman has denounced abolishing practice boundaries as ‘crazy’, despite the health minister’s assertion that the organisation backed the policy.

Yesterday, health minister Mike O’Brien told the RCGP conference that the college supported the plan to remove practiced boundaries. But Professor Steve Field said this was wrong.

Professor Field said that he and GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman had talked to the DoH about how to help patients who spend a lot of time away from home gain access to GPs.

‘We said we would work with them to find some solutions but, I’ll say it again, we do not support the abolition of practice boundaries,’ he said.

In his speech to the conference Professor Field also said that GPs needed to take more of a leadership role.

In a time of economic crisis, which would see NHS funding being squeezed, general practice needed to be about ‘leadership, leadership, leadership’, he said.

He said the NHS needed more clinical leadership and fewer managers, calling for the layers of central management to be slashed.

The DoH’s management costs were ‘scandalous’, said Professor Field. In 2005/6 the DoH spent £205m on management costs. The following year it was £132m.

Professor Field said that the money could be put to better use in primary care.

‘The time has come to get rid of lots of tiers of central management and put leadership back where it’s needed in the local economy,’ he said. ‘Let’s get clinicians leading and get the managers to support us because we are closest to our patients.’

There was no need to spend money on management consultants, said Professor Field, when clinicians could do the job. ‘We need to promote the leaders that we have locally at a national level.’

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