U.K. Family Doctors Urge Cameron to Withdraw Entire Health Bill

The U.K.’s Royal College of General Practitioners has written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging the “complete withdrawal” of the Health and Social Care Bill, and has called for an “urgent” debate on the scope and capabilities of the National Health Service, the RCGP said in an e-mailed statement today.

The RCGP is seeking the withdrawal of the bill because it proposes a “damaging, unnecessary and expensive reorganisation,” which would damage patient care, could “jeopardise” the NHS and potentially lead to a “two tier system with access to care defined by a patient’s ability to pay,” it said in the statement.

The plea to Cameron follows correspondence about possible changes to the bill with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and after the amendments presented to the House of Lords on Feb. 1, the RCGP says. The college represents more than 44,000 family doctors.

“Despite the number and extent of the amendments” to the bill that were established in the House of Lords, the organization remains worried about the “irreparable” consequences for the health service and patients, the RCGP says.

While the government “has claimed that it has made widespread concessions, our view is that the amendments have created greater confusion,” RCGP Chairman Clare Gerada said in the statement.

A survey carried out by the RCGP, the third in a series commissioned by Gerada, showed that three quarters of family doctors think it “appropriate” to call for the withdrawal of the bill, the statement also said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blanche Gatt in London at bgatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Simpson at jsimpson12@bloomberg.net; Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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