How much money will want GPs to permit the scrapping of their catchment areas?

Andy Burnham is announcing plans to scrap geographical catchment areas for GPs.  This is a sensible proposal that reflects the complexity of modern living and gives patients more choice.  It means that commuters could register with a GP near their workplace or that people could stay with a particular GP even if they move away.

Inevitably, the British Medical Association have expressed reservations, saying “it’s going to be very complicated”.  This sounds like the usual BMA code for “give us more money”.  Earlier this week GPs finally agreed that they were prepared to vaccinate their patients against swine flu (isn’t that what being a doctor is all about) provided they were paid £5.25 a shot.  So I predict that dealing with a non-local patient (even if they are exempted from ever having to do home visits and such patients will often be younger, more mobile and fitter) will require still more payment.

In the run up to the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, to buy the doctors’ support  Nye Bevan “stuffed their mouths with gold“.  Ever since then, the doctors have expected the same treatment any time there is a change in the way the NHS is run.  This will be another example.

Whilst Andy Burnham’s changes are desirable, what will make the biggest difference will be to allow patients to switch from one GP practice to another simply and without penalty.  At present, anyone who wants to join a GP practice by switching from another local practice without having moved home is treated with suspicion and distrust – the assumption is that they must be a trouble-maker who has dared to question the infallibility of their existing GP (and therefore are not the sort of patient any other GP would want on their books).

3 thoughts on “How much money will want GPs to permit the scrapping of their catchment areas?”

  1. Having one’s mouth stuffed with gold demonstrates a benefit of being a member of a really strong union and working as part of a closed shop in a monopoly trade!

    The lawyers are even better at it….

  2. You could even look at:

    Any tradesman who has to visit a client 30 miles away naturally charges more for costs than for a client 2 miles from his business.

    The same tradesman will expect to be paid more if he does more or extra work, as would any worker in this country

    So do you think your inaccurate slating of GPs who are after all workers and business people like the rest of us is fair?

    You seem to expect them to do extra work for nothing. This article is typical political waffle, inaccurate and deliberately misleading.

    If GPs mouths were stuffed with gold, why were doctors shunning GP work and retiring early before the new 2004 contract changes – which your govt imposed

    The author couldn’t even get the heading right. Is this the quality of work we should expect from a Labour Lord?

  3. Get your facts right. The original article on Bevan read:

    Bevan bought the backing of the consultants by, as he put it, “stuffing their mouths with gold.”

    Not the GPs then. How sad that this article twists the words in a typical government spin. Do Labour ever show the real truth, especially in their constant GP bashing.

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