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Wales breaks with England over NHS market

Welsh ministers have signalled a bold break with England over health policy, by proposing to abolish the NHS internal market.

The Welsh Assembly Government is consulting on plans to remove the commissioning of hospital services from Local Health Boards, leaving them to focus on providing primary care and community services.

Edwina Hart, health minister for Wales, said removing internal competition in the NHS would benefit patient care.

‘Ending the internal market is part of a wider Assembly Government drive to encourage co-operation rather than competition in delivering public services,' she said.

Dr Dai Lloyd, a GP in Swansea and local government and social justice lead for Plaid Cymru, said the changes would reduce bureaucracy, release money for patient services and result in better management of primary care.

‘Instead of having 22 finance directors, chief executives and chairs, we will have eight. This will save an awful lot in salaries alone,' he said.

‘I look at the increasing privatisation of the NHS in England with dismay. GPs are fortunate if they are in Wales and so are their patients,' he added.

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