02/06/2011

Health Bill Must Not Undermine Patients Trust, Says BMA



Launching guidance for shadow consortia on how to ensure transparency and probity, the British Medical Association (BMA) today said the government must remove performance-related bonuses for consortia from the health bill as it could undermine patient trust.



In the latest of a series of guidance documents for GPs the BMA’s GPs Committee sets out how consortia can ensure their governance arrangements have the confidence and trust of the public. It also calls on the government to scrap the proposal to pay consortia a performance-related payment if they perform well financially. 



Commenting on the guidance Dr Laurence Buckman, Chairman of the BMA’s GPs Committee, said: 

"The trust patients place in their doctor is the cornerstone of general practice and while clinically-led commissioning could bring real benefit to patients we don’t want this to be at the expense of that trust.



"GPs are very concerned about the potential conflicts of interest inherent in the Health Bill. They are worried that their patients’ trust in them may be damaged unless there are transparent processes in place to ensure confidence that commissioning decisions are being made in patients’ best interests." 



Dr Buckman continued: "We have produced this guidance to help shadow consortia ensure that their workings are transparent and can pass public scrutiny, but we want the government to remove the proposal to give consortia performance-related bonuses from the Health Bill. "Financially rewarding GPs by directly linking their earnings to their consortium’s financial management, particularly when the NHS is under continuing pressure to reduce budgets, is completely unethical.



"We strongly urge the government to listen to and act upon our concerns."

(BMcN/GK)

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