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GPs are targeted in advert

A private firm that runs nine independent sector treatment centres is to target GPs in an advertising campaign.

The move will be the first time an NHS provider has advertised its services to others with the aim of winning more business.

Capio, which has a £300 million contract to run nine treatment centres, said its £1 million campaign would focus on its 'values and core competencies' and emphasise that 90 per cent of the patients it treats are public sector funded.

Dr Tom Mann, Capio Healthcare UK's chief executive, said NHS hospitals had the advantage of being established, whereas 'new boys' like Capio 'needed to be better known'.

He said: 'A market has been created so it should be no surprise that we will market ourselves to customers and referrers.'

Dr Elizabeth Barrett, a GP in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, and a leading member of Keep Our NHS Public, said adverts for the private providers 'set her teeth on edge'.

She said: 'I'm still uncomfortable referring to the private sector. GPs are going to have to get reluctantly used to it.'

Dr Niti Pall, a GP in Smethwick, West Midlands, said the ads would not influence where she referred.

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