Why I'd welcome private takeover
From Dr FM Hirji, Hemel Hempstead
Private companies contracting to provide general practice services have caused a great deal of concern among GPs. They call it privatisation by the back door and some call it a scandal.
General practice was always provided by private contractors as GPs are self-employed contractors. It is only recently that salaried partners have come in and doctors have been employed by the PCT.
The NHS has a right to contract its services to whosoever it wishes. GPs have had the monopoly in providing this service but a monopoly does not improve the quality of the service or its efficiency. It increases unnecessary cost and encourages unnecessary bureaucracy and incompetence.
GPs provided this service for poor remuneration and little appreciation by both the public and the politicians. This has been been confirmed by the out-of-hours service now provided by other deputising services, commercial services charging the market rates.
I am all in favour of private companies contracting for GMS. They may initially contract for less, but eventually market forces will take over, and both the Government and the public will appreciate the service that has been provided by GPs.
Similarly I would like the hospital service to be put out to private contractors. Hospitals are already contracting to the private sector for some of their surgical cases such as orthopaedics and cardiology and in some cases people have been sent abroad.
Privatisation would certainly bring efficiency, improve quality, raise the morale and get rid of enormous administrative staff the NHS employs. I would welcome a private contractor to take over my surgery if the deal is right.