Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told delegates at the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) conference in Birmingham that GPs are in the best position to take rationing decisions, collectively in consortia, and to explain them to individual patients.
While Mr. Lansley said the Government had done everything to protect NHS funding during the spending review, he could not take away “resource constraint” within the Society. This led to the decision that GPs would themselves be responsible for rationing decisions.
“I actually think most of you would rather make the decision collectively rather than [leave it to] an organisation that isn’t accountable to you”, said Mr. Lansley. “We cannot dispense with the concept of rationing, but who should do that? Currently, the person who is trust by the patients is the GP in front of them, but the GP is not in a position to make the decision that really matters for their patients.”
He reasoned that the NAPC is not attempting to deny the need for prioritisation. Rather, he feels that prioritisation should take place in a way that patients have reasonable expectations and can discuss them with their clinical adviser.
Mr. Lansley concluded that judgements will always shave to be made regarding how money can best be used. With GP’s “on the ground”, so to speak, they are arguably the best equipped to make key rationing decisions.