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GP's CVD bills soar

Health Secretary John Reid has set out his case for extending patient choice and private provision in the NHS.

In a new book, Dr Reid argues the NHS is too central-ised and inflexible. But he adds that a private health market would have 'information asymmetries' that would produce 'inequitable outcomes'.

Instead, the minister said the NHS should exist as a 'synthesis' of these two systems and patients should be offered a constrained choice.

The new GP contract, payment by results and commissioning changes would remove historical inequalities and avoid flaws in the old internal market system, he said.

Speaking at the launch of the book, Limits of the Market, Constraints of the State: the Public Good and the NHS, Dr Reid said: 'Reticence to learn does not improve the NHS ­ it holds us back. That unwillingness to learn from other systems has been to the detriment of the NHS.'

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