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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Forget past, look to future says Warner

GPs must 'think laterally' and be more ambitious in order to compete with the private sector, health minister Lord Warner has told Pulse.

In an exclusive interview, he said GPs had to be less concerned with recreating existing models of care to have a chance of winning alternative provider contracts.

An option GPs should consider was partnering with other practices, health and social care organisations and the voluntary sector to offer as wide a range of services as possible, he said.

Lord Warner said practices should also consider merging back-office functions to save time and money and allow GPs to concentrate on clinical work.

'GPs may need to think more about the future and be less concerned about the previous pattern of provision as it may be it is not fit for purpose for tomorrow.'

North Eastern Derbyshire PCT's decision to award a contract to run a practice to US firm UnitedHealth Europe should not be seen as a 'stereotype', Lord Warner said.

He added: 'We know United have a lot of experience providing health care in other countries. They are not faceless but have run perfectly good health systems and provide a fair degree of patient satisfaction.'

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