As I wrote before, to Gordon Brown the NHS is 'Not His Specialty'. Hence, the NHS, is likely to be the number one battle ground in the next election. Today, David Cameron offered much needed direction to a health organisation that spends around two billion pounds per week! He has said:
"In a nutshell, GPs should control the budgets that NHS patients are entitled to. There is a good economic rationale for this. Budget-holding is a natural guarantee of efficiency, ensuring that money follows the patient and it is spent on frontline care rather than on bureaucracy. GPs - rather than remote managers - should be responsible for reconciling the available resources with clinical priorities and patient choice. And there is a good health rationale for GP budget-holding too: what's called the continuity of care. The family doctor service is the way to ensure that - even though the patients may see many specialists - there is always one doctor in charge: the doctor closest to the patient. This is especially important when it comes to preventative action or the management of chronic conditions, which require significant patient involvement.Five years ago Gordon Brown said that "in healthcare the consumer is not sovereign" - meaning that patients should not be trusted or expected to manage their own care. Well I disagree. Because I believe in general practice. With the GP to advise the patient and to commission care on their behalf from a variety of providers, then in healthcare the consumer can be sovereign."
I totally agree that GPs are paramount to patient care. As a psychiatrist, I daily rely on GPs knowing their patients. They provide vital information about both long term health and subtle changes in patient presentation. I'd like to thank all the GPs I've trusted to manage my patients after hospital discharge. If I trust them with life and death, I would certainly trust GPs to spent money wisely.
I believe GPs, like hospital doctors, want the funds to follow the patient. The time has come to stop following the dictum of management consultants or government quangocrats. The political tide must turn. The patient must be the put at the heart of the NHS.