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Call to stop private firms running integrated care groups

By Steve Nowottny

Private companies should not be given a role running new organisations set up to ‘vertically integrate' primary and secondary care, NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon said this week.

Addressing senior figures from across primary care at a Westminster Health Forum event yesterday, Dr Dixon said: ‘The providers of future integrated care organisations should be practice collectives.

‘They should be community interest companies, because I think it's desperately important that with our future community services we lock the capital in, we don't have it going elsewhere, that we keep local ownership and we keep that partnership between the local population and professionals so that they're co-providers of care, and they can work together rather than against each other as customers and consumers.'

The Government is currently running a £4m pilot of integrated care organisations, with 16 projects across the country.

Dr Dixon, a GP in Cullompton, Devon, said that private companies, as well as foundation trusts and primary care trusts, would have ‘an enormous role to play as partners within these integrated care organisations.'

‘But the people who run those integrated care organisations I don't think can be primary care trusts, foundation trusts… and I don't think they can be corporate providers either,' he said.

He added: ‘We must never run the risk of our community services being run by a foreign bankrupt biscuit company or the like.'

NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon

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