Any provider able to deliver a service that meets required standards and is within a NHS tariff will be allowed to offer their services to patients, the Conservatives have announced in their draft health manifesto.
The document says the Tories want to ‘open up the NHS to include new independent and voluntary sector providers. If they can deliver a service that patients want to a high standard and within the NHS tariff then they should be allowed to do so'.
It adds: ‘We will give everyone the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards.'
The policy appears to draw a line in the sand over the NHS market with Labour whose health secretary Andy Burnham last year said the NHS was the ‘preferred provider'.
Published on Monday to kickstart the Tory election campaign, the document also makes clear GPs will be the commissioners of patients' care and will hold patients' budgets.
‘We want the family doctor to be the patient's guide throughout the NHS so we will give GPs the power to hold patients' budgets and commission care on their behalf either in hospitals or using other forms of treatment and therapy in GP surgeries or specialised clinics.'
The manifesto also pledges to cut NHS administration by a third by devolving decision making to patients.
The NAPC said it ‘warmly welcomed' the manifesto's proposals, particularly the move to give GPs the power to hold patients' budgets.
‘Such a proposal resonates strongly with this organisation's own manifesto published last November', commented Mike Ramsden, Chief Executive Officer of NAPC.
‘Similarly, NAPC is delighted that the Conservatives intend to devolve decision-making closer to patients, eliminating unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and transfer freed up resources to support frontline doctors and nurses', he continued. ‘Such a move is extremely important, at a time when the funding of the NHS is so very seriously challenged'.Mike Ramsden said the Tory proposals resonated with the NAPC's own plans