Examination of Witnesses (Questions 911
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2002
911. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank
you to our witnesses for attending today. As you know, we are
conducting an inquiry into the Government's policy on drug addiction.
We have received an enormous number of written submissions, the
best part of 200, many of which are flatly contradictory; so we
are hoping that the representatives of the medical profession
here today are going to help guide us through this minefield.
Perhaps it would be helpful if I could clarify who everybody is.
Dr Gerada is from the Royal College of General Practitioners.
How does that overlap with the BMA or does it overlap?
(Dr Gerada) It does not overlap in the sense that
the Royal College of GPs represents the training aspects of general
practice, though there is some joint working with the BMA.
912. Do your members overlap with the membership
of the BMA?
(Dr Gerada) Our members would overlap. Not all members
of the BMA would be members of the Royal College of General Practitioners
but all GPs would be members of the BMA.
(Dr Thompson) Mostly but not all of them.
(Dr Gerada) We have about 18,000 members in England.
913. Dr Thompson represents the NHS Alliance.
(Dr Thompson) That is correct.
914. Can you tell us what that is.
(Dr Thompson) It is an organisation which grew out
of the National Association for Commissioning GPs. It represents
commissioners mainly within the NHS including primary care groups,
primary care trusts and individual GPs.
915. Has that sprung up in competition with
(Dr Thompson) Not at all, no. It comes from a different
perspective really. It is focusing mainly on the interests of
commissioners rather than GPs as GPs or doctors as doctors, but
its not in opposition to or in competition with the BMA.
916. How many members do you have?
(Dr Thompson) I am afraid I am not sure.
917. But your membership includes more than
(Dr Thompson) Yes. It includes primary care organisations,
commissioning organisations and primary care groups and trusts.
918. And practice managers?
(Dr Thompson) In that practices can become members
of the NHS Alliance, yes.
919. So a wider range of health professionals?
(Dr Thompson) A wider range of primary care and health
professionals in primary care.