Report on the meeting of Ophthalmologists and Anaesthetists
17th October 2006 at the Kings Fund, London
The meeting was called to address some of the issues arising from the desire by insurers, in particular BUPA and PPP, to develop specialty tendering.
Mr. Geoffrey Glazer, Chairman of FIPO, reported on the backdrop to the current situation and the present state of play with regard to negotiations with BUPA. The profession had offered every opportunity to BUPA for further discussions about cost effective practice whilst rejecting the preferred provider system being proposed by the insurer.
Mr. David Spalton, President of UKISCRS, (UK and Ireland Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons) described the views of his colleagues and the general opposition to the concept of specialty tendering which would impinge on quality and choice.
Mr. Richard Packard, ophthalmologist, discussed the contract between the patient and the doctor which would inevitably be damaged if a preferred provider system was introduced through tendering.
Mr. Chris Bentley, ophthalmologist, reviewed in detail the professional audits being carried out in ophthalmology and also demonstrated through these audits an overall improvement in performance over the last decade.
Dr. William Harrop-Griffiths, anaesthetist, speaking on behalf of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland supported the ophthalmologists in their stance against the preferred provider system.
Mr. Glazer presented the results of a questionnaire circulated to orthopaedic and ENT consultants with almost 1000 replies strongly backing the actions of the ophthalmologists and anaesthetists. These consultants were overwhelmingly against the BUPA proposals for specialty tendering.
There was a detailed discussion with the large audience during which time the policy of opposition to this type of tendering was fully supported and endorsed. The reasons behind this opposition were the reduction of choice for the patient, the loss of the patient and consultant contract and the anticipated deleterious effect on the quality of care.