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Hackney GPs call on David Cameron to drop controversial NHS reforms

PUBLISHED: 19:41 01 March 2012 | UPDATED: 08:45 02 March 2012

A group of Hackney GPs in line to gain new powers under the government’s controversial NHS reforms have slammed the proposals and called on the Prime Minister to scrap the bill completely.

The City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is only the second CCG in the country to officially make a stand against the Health and Social Care Bill, which would see GPs put in charge of buying health services for their area and introduce more competition within the NHS.

City and Hackney’s CCG announcement comes just days after the shock move by Tower Hamlets CCG, which is led by GP Dr Sam Everington - who was once a vocal supporter of the government’s plans - to call for the bill’s withdrawal.

In a letter written by the City and Hackney CCG today (Thursday), the group’s chairwoman Dr Clare Highton and chairman Dr Haren Patel, told David Cameron: “Like most NHS staff, we are afraid the NHS will be damaged beyond recognition in a few years if the Bill is passed.”

The letter asks Mr Cameron to “withdraw” the bill, because the CCG is already undergoing “huge disruption and a very bureaucratic process” as a result.

“This is already taking us away from working on clinical pathways with our local hospital, mental health and other services,” the doctors said. “Our NHS Primary Care Trust managers are also distracted by having to form a ‘business’ commissioning support organisation with us as their ‘customers’.”

And in a stinging blow, the letter went on to say: “We object to you using our willingness to be elected onto our CCGs by our peers to improve patient care as evidence that we support your Bill.”

Several other medical organisations, such as the British Medical Association, the Royal College of GPs, and the Royal College of Nursing, have also criticised the Bill and were not invited to a meeting on the subject at Number 10 last month.

But the government has continued to defend the reforms, and according to GP trade magazine Pulse, 70 other CCGs are expected to sign a letter calling on the medical profession to support the Bill because abandoning it would be a ‘disaster’.

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