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GPs unhappy with the way NHS is run

PUBLISHED: 15:26 14 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 July 2010

NORFOLK GPs are disillusioned and unhappy with the way the NHS is run, both locally and nationally.

Four out of five say that the government is doing a poor job of looking after the NHS and that extra cash has not been spent effectively.

NORFOLK GPs are disillusioned and unhappy with the way the NHS is run, both locally and nationally.

Four out of five say that the government is doing a poor job of looking after the NHS and that extra cash has not been spent effectively. The findings come from a survey carried out by the Liberal Democrats and completed by 134 GPs out of a total of 500 in Norfolk.

Most said their job satisfaction had dropped over the past two years. Other findings include:

78pc said that the government's stewardship of the NHS was poor, 18pc satisfactory and none thought it was good.

80pc said the extra money for the NHS had been spent not very effectively or very ineffectively, 14pc said quite effectively and none said very effectively.

64pc said NHS Norfolk's commissioning performance was poor, 32pc satisfactory and none good.

60pc said NHS Norfolk's communication and responsiveness was poor, 20pc satisfactory and none good.

It also found opposition to extended hours and a widespread view that Choose and Book is not making it easier to book hospital appointments. There was distrust of the proposed national database of patient details, with most saying they would not want their own details on it.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, one of those who compiled the report, said: “It is quite stark the extent to which GPs have lost confidence in the government nationally and in NHS Norfolk locally. That is quite disturbing.”

Ian Hume, chairman of Norfolk's Local Medical Committee of GPs, said: “The results speak for themselves and it shows that there is considerable low morale because for three years, practices have not had an increase in resources.

“The government has invested in the NHS, and there certainly have been improvements and people working very hard to implement change, but for GPs the level and intensity of work has gone up.”

He said the relationship with NHS Norfolk had been damaged while it was trying to recover from financial troubles, but GPs wanted to work with it and improve the relationship.

John Battersby, primary care lead for NHS Norfolk, said the survey may not be fully representative of all GPs, and that improvements had happ-ened since the survey was conducted in the summer. He said they worked hard to improve communication with practices, and that GPs are encouraged to get involved in the way services are commissioned, but that NHS Norfolk “cannot actively involve all GPs in every decision”.

A Department of Health spokesman said there had been many improvements, including a big increase in the number of patients who could see a GP within two days, and an increase in average length of a GP consultation from eight minutes to 12 minutes, and £250m for new surgeries and walk-in health centres. “These examples are proof of the excellent government stewardship of the NHS and funding priorities that are spent to vastly improve the healthcare needs of the population.”

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