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Banning private GPs “not best for patients”

22 December 2008

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It is not in the best interests of patients to ban independent providers from delivering GP services, according to CBI Scotland, which represents business leaders.

It has said that ministers should wait until the results of a survey of 500,000 patients, due to be published next summer, before enacting legislation.

Assistant director David Lonsdale said: “New commercial providers could help raise the quality of primary care and improve access for patients, especially in areas with too few doctors.

“The vast majority of GPs do an excellent job. However, the Scottish government should be looking to build on this by encouraging the use of independent providers as a means of expanding capacity and enhancing innovation so that patients can get an even better service.

“We fear that dogmatic opposition to letting new independent providers offer GP services will mean patients lose out.”

A spokesman for Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish government is committed to the vision of a mutual NHS … which is why I believe that commercial companies, where shareholders may not be part of or have a direct interest in the NHS, should not be used to provide such vital frontline services.”

Copyright © Press Association 2008

CBI Scotland

Related story: First Minister pledges to preserve NHS general practice in Scotland