BREAKING NEWS: Tower Hamlets GPs become first to revolt against David Cameron’s healthcare bill
PUBLISHED: 14:49 28 February 2012 | UPDATED: 13:21 29 February 2012
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A team of prominent Tower Hamlets GPs have become the first in the country to call on the Prime Minister to drop the government’s controversial healthcare bill.
In a letter sent to David Cameron, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group – the team tasked with heading the government’s new healthcare strategies in the East End – hit out at the “bureaucracy generated by the bill” and argued if brought in it would “compromise our ability to focus on what really counts”.
The calls are being led by Dr Sam Everington, who has, in the past, worked as an advisor on health to the government and has also been a vocal supporter of Conservative party’s primary care policies.
Among other changes, the bill would see GPs put in charge of buying health services for their area.
In the letter led by Dr Everington, Tower Hamlets CCG said: “Your rolling restructuring of the NHS compromises our ability to focus on what really counts - improving quality of services for patients, and ensuring value for money during a period of financial restraint.
“We care deeply about the patients and we believe the improvements we all want to see in the NHS can be achieved without the bureaucracy generated by the bill.
“Your government has interpreted our commitment to our patients as support for the bill. It is not.”
Alluding to a wave of discontent among GPs in Tower Hamlets, Dr Everington added: “Local GPs and other health professionals were very keen that we should make our opposition to these proposals clear to the Prime Minister.”
In Parliament on Tuesday, Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, urged health secretary Andrew Lansley to ditch the bill and branded it a “nightmare system”.
She added: “I’ve had hundreds of letters from worried constituents about this.”
On Saturday Ms Ali and other Labour members will gather signatures against the bill outside Whitechapel’s Royal London hospital.
The bill, currently under discussion in Parliament, has already drawn fierce criticism from the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association.
The Department of Health said the bill has the backing of NHS Alliance and National Association of Primary Care, who represent 11,000 primary care clinicians.
A spokeswoman added: “Without the bill, doctors and nurses will always run the risk of having their decisions second-guessed by the managers running primary care trusts. The bill cuts out this needless bureaucracy.”