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Privatisation move 'puts NHS at risk'

Government moves to allow private firms to commission NHS services are putting the entire ethos of the health service at risk, the BMA is warning.

In a response to the Department of Health commissioning framework for England, the BMA said commissioning of NHS services must remain a core function of the NHS and

involve clinicians.

A set of core principles also included that commissioning decisions must be based on

service quality and long-term benefits to the health economy rather than just on short-term financial costs.

The department advertised in June this year for private firms interested in tendering for a range of PCT management services, including financial management, public relations and service commissioning.

It is expected to release a list of approved independent sector providers that PCTs could employ within weeks.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said practices wanted to take on commissioning, but needed more resources to make it work.

He said: 'If we get commissioning right there is a real opportunity to improve the range and quality of services available to patients.'

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