By Oliver Hotham
GPs might be left with only one day a week to look after patients if NHS reforms become law, according to research released today.
TUC-backed website False Economy claimed clinicians in some parts of the country are going to be expected to spend four days a week managing budgets and allocating resources.
The research also indicated that, because of time used managing, GPs will be required to bring in extra help, costing the NHS an extra £20 million a year.
Brendan Barber, secretary general of the TUC, said the "revelations of the mounting cost of paying for GPs to sit on committees rather than look after their patients, even before the bill becomes law, provide even more reasons why parliament should vote it down".
He added: "Every day brings new evidence that this bill has little to do with making the NHS work better, and is all about competition, fragmentation and fat profits for private suppliers. GPs do a wonderful job looking after patients – they should be allowed to get on with it."
The government's controversial health and social care bill, which has been accused of being an attempt to "privatise" the NHS, would replace primary care trusts with consortia of local GPs who would be in charge of purchasing healthcare for their patients.
It has met with widespread opposition from health professionals, including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing.