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Ban on sale of goodwill could end

The Government is considering scrapping the ban on the sale of goodwill on essential GP services, writes Ian Cameron.

Leading health care consultants said the ban would go by the end of the year as part of the drive to increase competition.

Commenting on the speculation, a senior Department of Health official said he 'would not be surprised' if the issue was on the agenda of the department's commercial directorate.

Ending the ban would allow GPs to include the value of expected future profits when selling their practice.

But the BMA has warned that it would 'increase the threat to practice-based care and the highly regarded UK model of general practice'.

Kingsley Manning, chief executive officer of consultants Newchurch, said the ban was 'unsustainable' and would be axed by the end of the year.

Harry Hyman, managing director of health care consultants Nexus, said: 'By the end of September it may be possible to sell goodwill.'

Dr Andrew Dearden, GPC Wales chair, said the move would mark a major U-turn. He added: 'The Government may be trying to make [primary care] more attractive to the private sector but they could be pulling their legs to get them involved.'

Ministers ended the ban on sale of goodwill on additional, enhanced and out-of-hours services after nGMS and said they would review it in two years.

APMS providers are allowed to sell goodwill.

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