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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Medicine is turning into a madhouse

The Government's thinking that the private sector can bail out or solve the problems of the NHS is misplaced. If anything the intrusion will not only fragment the NHS but will destroy the core values of primary care.

It is likely that some practices will actually face closure as private providers cherry-pick high-volume, low-risk services that cross-subsidise holistic GP care.

Private providers may be able to provide more minor surgery and drug monitoring ­ but costs will go up.

Without more money in the system, increases in capacity will be marginal and may take place only in less risky, less costly specialisations. The Government seems hell bent on destroying the core values of the NHS in its infatuation with the market economy.

The NHS was not designed to be a profit-making organisation. It is based on people clubbing together, not pitching one against the other. The patient choice agenda could drive a coach and horses through the whole concept of the NHS.

Those patients (often white middle-class English-speakers) best able to access hospital websites will be the ones to jump the queues while the old and disadvantaged get pushed to the back. The whole ethos is predicated on a simplistic belief that competition always and everywhere improves efficiency.

Dr Kailash Chand

Ashton under Lyne

Lancashire

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