NHS reform ‘has to happen’, says Warwickshire GP leader

A FAMILY doctor who leads a regional GP group has cautiously welcomed the Government’s proposed changes to NHS reform.

Dr David Spraggett, chairman of the south Warwickshire practices clinical commissioning group and GP at Castle Medical Centre in Kenilworth, spoke to the Courier this week following Prime Minister David Cameron’s acceptance of changes to the reform suggested by an independent review.

He said: “From what I can gather, the thrust of the change towards stimulating competition has moved more in the direction of integration between providers of healthcare and social care - something we in Warwickshire were aiming to do anyway. If anything, the changes will make that easier.”

Pointing out that the move would include patients, nurses and other specialists in the commissioning groups, Dr Spraggett, who has been a doctor for more than 25 years, said: “I and my colleagues welcome the idea that everything will become more publicly accountable because these are enormous sums of public money being spent.”

Warning that a staggered approach may hinder progress, he said: “I find it hard to understand how we are going to be able to cope with three or four systems running at the same time. We should be trying to all move at a similar pace.

“My fear is that there will be yet more changes that occur as we are going along that then make it very difficult for us to make long term plans.”

But he added: “I am confident that if we are allowed to, we can achieve what we intend. Change has got to happen within the health service if we are to live within the financial restraints we are in.”

Campaigners against the reform recently put pressure on Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White to speak out against the changes, but he said the Government had been listening, which was a “major step forward”.