What will the coalition mean for GPs?
A review of the new government’s recently published “The Coalition: our programme for Government” indicates the government’s aims for the NHS which include:
• GPs with authority over commissioning
• Patients with more control
• Elections for local NHS health boards
•An emphatic end to bureaucracy, top-down control and centralisation.
Apart from the section on the NHS, there are proposals covered in the banking section that should mean easier access to funds for loans, and proposals covered in the business section that suggest reforms to assist employers with flexibility and to encourage new business start ups. There should also be some clearer tax legislation around self–employment. In addition 25 per cent of government contracts are to be awarded to small and medium sized businesses and tender invitations for these contracts will be published free on–line.
Health spending will be ring fenced in real terms for the life of the parliament. Savings generated by reducing duplication and administration costs will be diverted to front line care.
GPs’ power to commission care on behalf of patients will be strengthened. A GP will become a patient’s expert guide through the health system.
Patients will have the right to select which GP they register with and to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices including the independent, voluntary and community sector providers.
The GP contract will be renegotiated to include incentives for improving access in disadvantaged areas and GPs will get incentives to tackle public health problems.
Best practice will be followed, where possible, to enable community access to care and treatment. Front line staff will be given more control of their working environment to allow them to exercise their professional judgement.
An independent NHS board will be established to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines. Through Monitor, an economic regulator will be developed to oversee access, competition and price setting.
There will be a review of long term affordability of public sector pensions while protecting accrued rights.
These are the proposed intentions to be implemented and achieved during the five year term of office of the current coalition.