Patients will move between commissioners, warns GP04 November 2010
Patients will "get on a bus" to find care denied by GP commissioners, a senior doctor has told MPs and peers.
He said that if there are no restrictions, patients would move between commissioners to seek out treatments which were not contracted by their local GP consortium. That would damage care, he said, as consortia would have to compete for patients.
Dr Buckman said: "If you develop a disease with expensive treatment which is not available with your GP but is with one a hundred miles away, you're going to go to that GP.
"If I had a fatal disease I'd get on a bus," he added.
He said "postcode lotteries" would become "more obvious" with the introduction of GP commissioning, but hoped patient involvement in clinical decisions could help ensure commissioners responded to demand.
However Nick Seddon, deputy director of the think tank Reform, said travel would discourage patients switching between geographically determined consortia. He said if commissioners overlap in an area, "they must compete on care, quality of commissioning or solvency".