Castleford GP's 'crash and burn' budget fear

A West Yorkshire GP has said government plans for doctors to manage their own budgets is like "asking holiday reps to fly the plane".

Dr Nadeem Nayyar, from Castleford, said he was concerned about the proposals for budgets to be passed from health trust to GPs to control.

He said he feared the reforms could lead to a "crash and burn" situation for the NHS.

The Department of Health said it would deliver long-lasting, effective change.

Managers working for primary care trusts (PCTs) are currently responsible for planning and buying local services, but GPs will take on responsibility for this from 2013 under the plans.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the reforms were a "carefully staged transition" which would improve care and efficiency.

'No option B'

Dr Nayyar said GPs did not sign up to be managers or businessman and their priority was treating patients.

He said he was concerned about when doctors would have the time to get to grips with controlling their own budgets and receive training.

"There are some quality clinicians, great GPs out there, that do have business minds and great entrepreneurial skills and they will take this and will run with it.

"The important thing to understand is that we have not been given a choice.

"Signing up to GP Commissioning is the only choice. There is no option B."

"Let's say general practice and the health service is a jumbo jet, and a sweeping step was taken to lay off all the pilots of the jets and ask all the holiday reps to fly the plane.

"Some of those holiday reps might be really keen to fly the plane, but they've got to learn to fly the plane."

'Lot of enthusiasm'

He added: "My biggest concern is that [that] jumbo jet is going to crash and burn, and if the government isn't careful, that's exactly what they are going to do with the NHS.

"We came into this profession to put our patients first, not to put pound notes first."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We have listened extensively to all views about our plans, and have set out in detail how we intend to deliver long-lasting, effective change to the NHS that will help ensure that it is financially sustainable in the future."

She added that the changes would result in a move away from a Whitehall-run system and regional bodies that were "far removed" from patients, to one that was clinically driven and focused on quality.

She said: "We are simply building on the best of what already exists.

"And there is a lot of enthusiasm for our ideas."

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