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Medical world debates NHS proposals

13th July 2010

Plans to overhaul the NHS by devolving power to doctors and patients have received mixed reactions.

Yesterday (July 12th), the Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS white paper unveiled a number of changes to the UK's healthcare system, with the government suggesting that primary care trusts are phased out and GPs given more power to commission services.

In addition, people will be able to choose which GP practice they are registered with and which consultant-led teams treat them, while services will be focused on fitting around the patient's needs, rather than the opposite.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of British Medical Association Council, welcomed the proposals contained in the white paper, saying they will have a 'substantial impact' on the level of care the NHS can offer its patients.

He claimed that the plans will remove the 'unnecessary' bureaucracy and barriers between medical professionals and their patients, adding: 'Doctors are ideally placed to help determine the health needs of their local population.'

However, UNISON, the UK's largest public service union, levelled heavy criticism at the new measures and said they will bring in more healthcare privatisation at the expense of stability.

Karen Jennings, the union's head of health, commented: 'Far from liberating the NHS, these proposals will tie it up in knots for years to come.'

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