I AM a retired general practitioner having worked in Airedale for over 25 years.
The coalition government’s plan for the NHS could spell disaster for our local health services. The health and social care bill is going through parliament at the moment and its policies represent the biggest change to the NHS since it was founded in 1948. These changes will affect every patient in Pontefract and Castleford.
Our hospitals will be made into independent businesses and will be free to treat private patients possibly first and taking up precious beds.
The bill also opens the way for price competition which has been demonstrated to lead to a reduction in care quality. Large private companies may move in to provide cheap medical and surgical care.
GPs will take on the role of managing the NHS and this includes the buying services for patients and doing the jobs currently undertaken by the Primary Care Trust which will be abolished. This is my biggest worry. The vast majority of GPs have not the training to take on this role and are not interested in doing so. Will we as patients trust our GP if we think he or she is putting cost cutting before health? I think we should know whether GPs in Pontefract and Castleford are for or against these changes.
I have signed the petition on the internet being organised by the NHS Support Federation – www.nhscampaign.org – and I hope readers do the same.
DR RICHARD SLOAN