A think-tank has warned that plans for a radical reform of the NHS could see patients turn against their GPs.
The warning came as the Government prepared to reveal details of the NHS shake-up which will usher in a new era of GP-led commissioning in England in 2013, with family doctors taking control of an £80bn budget to spend on treatment.
The Nuffield Trust said its study of a similar set-up in California showed that income incentives are often given to family doctors as a reward for delivering the best possible care.
But it warned that such cash bonuses for GPs in this country, whose average pay packet is more than £105,000, might be seen as "unpalatable" by many people who could take the point of view that money which should be used for improving their healthcare is instead being diverted into making doctors richer.
While the Nuffield Trust study recognised there will be a need to establish some sort of benefit for GPs who perform well, it said: "In the context of GP commissioning, the question of how incentives should be used has not been resolved."
Copyright © Press Association 2011
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So long as the bonus is practice-based and not reliant on individual GP indicators then there should be no problem. Quality services are provided by the team of GPs, Nurses and all the other support staff - so if the media do not misrepresent the situation as they have done in the past then hopefully there would be no problems? In any event with the consistent
fall in practice income and the rise in expenses there will be little or no increase in the profitability of GP practices so GP "earnings" are not likely to rise much.
- Alan Moore, Western Cheshire