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Primary care duped: the government’s bill will wreck the NHS

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 14 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e998
  1. Peter Bailey, general practitioner, Cambridge
  1. peter.bailey{at}

How have we got into such a mess? How can people who have devoted the whole of their working lives to the principles of the NHS been so compliant, misled, or trampled on (depending on your perspective) in the bungled reorganisations triggered by the Health and Social Care Bill that is now before the upper chamber?

I have worked for the past 12 years as a general practitioner in Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s backyard, setting up a new general practice to serve the people arriving in the green field development of Cambourne (population 9000 and aiming for 11 000). The practice has championed holistic care with the autonomy of the patient, a right to information, and respect for the patient’s expertise at the heart of the service.

I chaired the local medical committee, and until recently I was vice chair of our emerging primary care consortium as it morphed into a clinical commissioning group.

So I have to put up my hand and say that this mess is my fault. …

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