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So the government wants GPs in England to be in charge of 80 percent of the NHS budget (around £80-odd billion, which is hardly small change), instead of managers. That’s the news everyone’s talking about today. Well, it’s not as if something big hasn’t been on the cards – and it could of course mean that lots of managers in the health service will get the chop now, bringing down operating expenses (in theory, at least).

And while some experts say it’s potentially a good thing, because GPs know what people – their patients – need more than managers, I’m not so sure. I mean, for goodness sake, don’t GPs have enough to do as it is? And now they’ve got to manage this huge budget too – the implications of which are, well, enormous, when you come to think of it.

I know the current system isn’t perfect, but shouldn’t GPs do what they do best? That is, helping people with health problems to get better, not being glorified accountants. Apparently, doctors will work in groups, making budget decisions together. Er, exactly when will they have time to do that? I mean, have you been to see a GP recently? I went the other day and was ushered in and out in less than five minutes. Last December, the British Medical Association called for appointment times to be extended to 15 to 20 minutes, since the standard 10-minute appointment wasn’t long enough for many people. They’ve got to be joking – she’s so rushed off her feet that even 10 minutes with my GP would be a luxury.

So if you’re unlucky enough to be a patient of a GP who’s going to be among one of the proposed groups of doctors controlling the NHS budget, will you get to see them at all?

The plans, which are believed to be outlined in a government White Paper on the NHS next week, could cause massive changes in the health service, and Civitas (the Institute for the Study of Civil Society) has already poured damp water on the whole affair by saying there isn’t any evidence that the new system would be any better than the current one. And not only that, it could lead to at least a one-year dip in the NHS’s performance in absolute terms, while setting the NHS back at least three years relative to what could be achieved without any structural change.

I don’t know about you, but that hardly sounds like progress to me.