Readers support NHS reforms - but only if they improve the service

Pulses race at thought of GPs running budgets.

PLANS for major reforms to the National Health Service are causing heart rates to rise in East Devon.

While some believe GPs are best placed to commission patients’ care, others are not so sure.

Joan Tarr, 75, of Luppitt, said: “There are always concerns about changes to the NHS. It will sort out many problems as well. I think giving GPs control over their budgets will be a burden on them.”

Vera Rendall, 82, of Honiton, said: “I am a bit concerned. Locally, I think they need resources. I am worried about waiting times and appointments. I’m not sure if the NHS is in need of reform, but I think it does need looking in to.”

Sharon Pavey, of Honiton, said: “It is all very worrying that we might have to pay for NHS services – the health service shouldn’t be like that.”

“GPs having control of their budgets may cut bureaucracy and could mean more cash can go to the frontline, where it is needed. If people have to pay for health care, they won’t visit their doctor over small problems, which then become much bigger problems.

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“I think we actually need to spend more on prevention, including things like alcohol awareness, helping people to stop smoking and sex education, which has just been cut by Devon County Council.”

Christine Sweetland, 55, of Broadclyst, said: “I think GPs doing their own thing would make the system a lot better as they know the needs of the community where they are based. I don’t think it will be a burden on them, as long as they are sensible about it.

“Reform is needed; as time goes on, life has got to change for the better. Everybody has got to be looked after.”

Frank Willis, 86, of Sidford, said: “Yes, I am concerned about the NHS reforms. One of my main concerns is having to ring a call centre to contact a doctor. I think it would change for the worse. I am a bit worried about GPs having control of their budgets, but I think too many people are handling the finances. Reform has got to happen; the NHS has been going down, as there are far too many people running it. I preferred the older days of the NHS.”

Elizabeth Everett, of Budleigh Salterton, said: “I just think it is appalling. GPs have got to practice medicine, not run a financial enterprise - it will put more of a burden on them. It does concern me. I think doctors have enough to do.”

Barbara Collins, 65, of Charmouth, said: “I am concerned about the situation with GPs. A doctor my son spoke to said now they will have the money to do something about their patients’ medical care. I don’t know if it will improve the NHS – I hope so. I think, in the past, the NHS was much better. It is desperately in need of reform, but what sort of change?”

Molly Appleby, 73, of Honiton, said: “I’m not really worried – I’m lucky, I haven’t had to go to the doctors. I don’t think we should have cutbacks, though. I think patients need more care than what they get now. There is a shortage of care. Doctors should have more control over their budgets.

“I do think the reforms are necessary.”

Joan Stevens, 76, of Ottery St Mary, said: “I don’t know really. It may be better if GPs had more control over their budgets. It is one of those things, we will have to wait and see. It could be the end of the NHS, but I will wait and see.”