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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Health bill is final step in privatisation

This is about the 13th reorganisation I've seen in my three decades as a GP. Up until now, I've simply put it down to the fact politicians can't resist fiddling.

This reorganisation is far more sinister, however, as the label NHS will not be in any way applicable afterwards.

This health bill represents the coalition Government's proposals to privatise the NHS. It is the next logical step in the seamless acceleration of the policies of the last government. Tony Blair was elected in 1997 on a platform of abolishing the NHS market, but a few years later reversed this without a mandate from the electorate. The present Secretary of State gave a pre-election pledge that there would be no more major reorganisations in the NHS.

Why wasn't the NHS a hot topic in the election campaign? Because all three main parties are in agreement that commercialisation is the way forward. Those believing in the founding principles of the NHS were disenfranchised.

GPs have no choice but to amalgamate into consortia. But consortia in some areas are at risk of being dominated by a clique that turns to the private sector to do commissioning for them. There is a real danger of damaging conflicts of interest when GPs are both service providers and purchasers.

From Dr Paul Hobday
Maidstone

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To read a fuller version of Dr Hobday's letter,
please click here.

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