Doctors opposing NHS reforms have called a meeting in the Dales.
A grassroots revolt against Government plans is growing among GPs in Wirksworth and doctors, alarmed at measures to encourage privatisation, are calling on residents to have their say.
The meeting will take place at the Hope and Anchor pub, in the Market Place, on Monday and will look at whether the NHS is secure in the town and if it can survive the planned radical overhaul.
Two of the town’s doctors – Ian Lawrence and Jill Rapoport – will be leading the discussion and explaining what the proposed changes will mean for the town.
Retired GP, Dr Rapoport, who used to work at the town’s Hannage Brook Medical Centre, said: “There has been an increase in concern among people in Wirksworth about how much we value the present health care we have in our locality and how worried we are that certain things are likely to affect the current high level of care received.
“The Government is very likely to carry our changes even if not the best for the area.
“They are proposing GPs become commissioners of care of services rather than the PCT. I can’t see how this is going to improve care.”
The proposed shake-up could see the country’s primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities abolished in 2013.
They would be replaced by groups of GPs, who would take over the management and commissioning of primary care services – GPs, dentists, pharmacists and other community services.
But the move has drawn sharp criticism from some in the medical profession, with fears about competing public, private and voluntary sector providers, less choice, fewer services and increasing bureaucratic costs.
Dr Trevor Hyde, of Summer Lane in Wirksworth, contacted the Mercury this week to express his concerns at the plans and to urge people to attend the open meeting.
He said: “The Government is about to embark upon the most radical overhaul of the NHS since its inception with no evidence to support it, no pilot studies to test it, and overwhelming opposition from all the professional bodies working within the NHS, none of whom were properly consulted beforehand.
“What is planned is the introduction of commissioning consortia and the right of “any willing provider” to bid for any and all NHS work.
“Moreover the competition is to be based on price.
“It means that GP’s wishing to keep using well-trusted local hospitals and consultants will find themselves open to challenge in court if they don’t tender everything out and pick the cheapest bidder.”
The meeting will take place from 7.30pm to 9pm.
To read Dr Hyde’s full letter to the Mercury see page six of today’s paper.