Hackney GP, Dr Jonathon Tomlinson, warns of “chaos and cuts” as the job of planning patient care moves into the hands of the newly established, Clinical Commissioning Groups, this week.
Speaking on the BBC Today programme on Tuesday morning, Dr Tomlinson was discussing the likely affects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The Act will bring in: “The most significant changes to the NHS since it began in 1948, including major implications for the workforce,” according to the NHS Employers organisation. Professor David Haslam, the newly appointed head of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) calls it:”a time of huge risk”.
Tomlinson described this morning how the first changes patients are likely to be aware of will be an increase in the number of medical services advertised on their Google searches. He pointed out that, though this may look like more choice for them, that “every new easy to provide and easy to market” service offered via the private sector will be paid for by cuts in the services currently provided by NHS hospitals.
“Competitive services will destabilise a service which is already at breaking point. It will effectively destroy the NHS,” he said.
Tomlinson also pointed out that, although GPs will be involved with the new Clinical Commissioning Services, they have discovered, in Hackney, that this will not necessarily mean that GPs actually get to choose the service they want. When local GPs formed a co-op to provide out of hours services last year, they were turned down in favour of Harmoni health care, the existing provider which has been heavily criticised by patients.
Last week, Lewisham GP, Dr Louise Irvin, also speaking on the BBC said of the new arrangements: “Private providers deal with low risk problems, leaving the NHS to do the rest. That will undermine the viability of NHS services because they rely on a mix of cases.”
Professor Malcolm Grant of NHS England, which will be overseeing the new arrangements, said that if there is an increase in the use of the private sector , “it will be the choice of the clinical commissioning groups”.
There will, he said, be no limit set for the privatisation of facilities however, he added that the privatisation of acute hospitals is: “inconceivable in the foreseeable future”.