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GP commissioning ‘will extend market forces’ in the NHS, next RCGP chair warns

By Nigel Praities

Market forces in the NHS will be increased if Government plans for GP commissioning go ahead, RCGP chair-elect Dr Clare Gerada has warned.

In a stark message to delegates at the RCGP conference in Harrogate, Dr Gerada said she was concerned Government attempts to increase competition in the NHS would result in care being based on price rather than quality.

Her warning echoes the position of the BMA in its consultation response to the white paper.

Dr Gerada stressed she believed that GPs could successfully take on commissioning, but said her main concern was that ‘price will rear its head' because they would have to put contracts out on an ‘any willing provider' basis and without a national tariff for hospitals.

‘Putting GPs at the heart of commissioning – that is not the revolution. The revolution is around the vast majority of our services being out to tender under any willing provider,' she said.

'And as we have learnt over the past few days the national tariff will have a ceiling and no floor, so price will rear its ugly head. We all often choose the cheapest when we go shopping, so the revolution, for me, is about the extension of market forces.'

'I have no doubt GPs can do this, the issue is about some of these risks and how we can deal with them,' she added.

Dr Clare Gerada: GP commissioning plans 'will extend market forces' in the NHS Dr Clare Gerada: GP commissioning plans 'will extend market forces' in the NHS