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GP issues cost versus care warning

A top GP has warned that there is a danger of patients being seen more as commodities than people.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), revealed that there is pressure on doctors to "replace the language of caring with the language of the market".

Speaking to 1,500 GPs at the fifth annual RCGP conference in Liverpool, she stressed that the driving force behind all doctor-patient relationships should never be the costs involved.

Dr Gerada warned that patients should never be seen as commodities to be bought and sold, reminding her peers that caring about their patients as people should underpin everything they do.

The Coalition Government's plans for an NHS Bill have been widely criticised by those working in the medical profession, despite ministers making a number of concessions and engaging in a "listening exercise".

Dr Gerada said: "In this brave new cost-driven, competitive, managed-care world, I worry about the effect that the language of marketing is having on our clinical relationships.

"It's changing the precious relationship between clinician and patient into a crudely costed financial procedure."

Copyright Press Association 2011

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