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Independent sector impact “threatens future of healthcare”

26 June 2009

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The impact of the independent sector on healthcare is a major cause of concern for more than nine out of 10 doctors, according to a snapshot survey for the BMA.

Of the 124 practitioners questioned for the BMA News poll, 94% said that if local health services were left to market forces, they feared for their future.

At the same time, 86% felt that commercial companies providing NHS services was a bad idea, and three quarters wanted the NHS to be entirely publicly funded and publicly provided.

Dr Mark McCartney, a GP in Cornwall, commented: “The introduction of choice and competition has increased the cost of delivering healthcare and destabilised existing providers before the private sector can become properly established.”

His comments were backed by public health medicine consultant Dr Richard Jarvis, who said: “The dogma that market forces produce the most efficient use of money has been shown to be catastrophically wrong by the credit crunch.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Lord Darzi suggested the government could be re-examining its plans to fund hospitals and healthcare facilities through the controversial PFI (private finance initiative).

“Quality is a moving target and PFIs have been very successful and might be in the future but it needs to be looked at,” he told BMA News.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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