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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dr Richard Halvorsen

Dr Richard Halvorsen is a GP in Holborn, central London. He had been running the Brunswick Medical Centre in Camden, but recently lost out in the APMS tendering process to US giant UnitedHealth.

Dr Richard Halvorsen is a GP in Holborn, central London. He had been running the Brunswick Medical Centre in Camden, but recently lost out in the APMS tendering process to US giant UnitedHealth.

What made you want to bid for the Brunswick practice in the first place?

We wanted to prevent a local practice from getting into the hands of a private company.

How do you feel about the decision to offer the APMS contract to UnitedHealth?

UnitedHealth won the contract with a far lower PCT score for provision of services than our bid.

Our impression is the PCT was determined to award the practice to a private company and even went as far as to change the rules of the bidding process as it went along.

How do you feel about APMS contracts in general?

I am suspicious that they are a means to allow private companies in to run primary care.

What do you think will be the long-term effects of having more APMS contracts?

It will mean the end of general practice as it has existed since the inception of the NHS. It also signals the death-knell of GPs as self-employed contractors of primary care.

What impact will it have on patients?

It would mean the end of personalised healthcare.

How does the NHS compare with the American version of healthcare?

The Government is looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. Sadly it has ignored the soaring costs, financial mismanagement and documented failures of the US system.

Do you think there is a place for private healthcare at all in the NHS?

Possibly, with a level playing field. But not if companies are offered preferential terms, leaving the NHS to pick up the pieces.

What can GPs offer patients that the private sector can't?

A professional, vocational commitment. Some GPs look after three generations of a family and they and their patients value this special relationship.

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