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CCGs should ‘take note’ of Dutch GPs’ fine

18 January 2012

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CCGs should take notice of competition law abroad if they want to be absolutely sure of the parameters they must abide by in England, the Chief Executive of the NHS Alliance has claimed.

Dr Michael Sobanja told MiP “most” GP leaders are “well aware” of both domestic and European law and are “well placed” to be under the scrutiny of economic regulator Monitor.

“CCGs are well aware that competition law leaves them no room to be cavalier in how they run their business arrangements,” said Dr Sobanja.

“They know they will have to play things by the book.”

Dr Sobanja’s comments coincided with the Dutch Association of General Practitioners receiving a fine of €7.7m (£6.4m) for violating competition law, as reported by the BMJ.

The Dutch Competition Authority found the body was “unlawfully advising its members that they could restrict the freedom of new GPs to set up practice.”

Although the principles of the Dutch health service are very different to English one, Dr Sobanja said the case has nevertheless painted an “interesting illustration of how clued up CCGs in England need to be” as they prepare to come out of shadow form in 2013. 

“CCGs need to be absolutely sure of the parameters they must abide by to comply with domestic and Euro competition laws,” he said.

“They must be transparent and declare conflicts of interests to protect themselves.”