NHS shake-up 'hands funding powers to GPs'
Published: 9th Jul 2010 05:05:28
Doctors could be handed responsibility and funding for most health services under a radical shake-up of the NHS in England, under ministerial plans.
Local trusts and strategic health authorities would be sharply scaled back to make way for their new role.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley believes GPs are best placed to understand patients' needs and to decide where money should be spent.
But there are concerns GPs may not have the skills or will to take on the role.
Others have questioned how they would be held accountable.
Discussions with doctors' representatives over the plans are continuing, and the government has confirmed it will publish further details in a white paper next week.
They involve setting up groups of practices which would work together in consortia, then buy in management skills, possibly from people doing the same job for existing primary care trusts.
At present, the government gives funds to local trusts which pay for patients in their area to be treated in hospital.
Under the new proposals, doctors would receive the money instead and pay hospitals directly for referrals.
BBC health correspondent Adam Brimelow said: "After six-and-a-half years shadowing the post in opposition, Mr Lansley has come in with detailed and radical plans to change the NHS.
The NHS budget has been protected by the coalition government, and is not subject to the severe cuts of other Whitehall departments.
But the health service has been told to save up to £20bn by 2014 to help it cope with the ageing population, rising drug prices and lifestyle changes such as obesity.
The Royal College of Nursing has claimed almost 10,000 posts - double the number from two months ago - are being cut despite government promises to protect frontline services.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. NHS shake-up 'hands funding powers to GPs'. [Online] (Updated 09 Jul 2010)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/73691-NHS-shake-up-hands-funding-powers-to-GPs [Accessed 20th May 2013]
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