The proposed NHS reforms will open the door to private healthcare companies who want to commission billions of pounds of services on behalf of GPs, Labour has claimed.
The warning comes in response to the government’s plans to abolish England’s 152 PCTs and hand over commissioning responsibility to GPs as part of its healthcare shake-up.
Shadow Health Secretary John Healey (pictured) questioned the changes, which he claimed would cause the public to worry and put the NHS “under strain”.
Mr Healey also said that the proposals would cost £3bn.
He told Sky News: “Is it really sensible to put twice the size of the defence budget in the hands of GPs each year, especially as this is public money, taxpayers’ money to find the health service for the future?
“GPs are being trained to look after and treat patients, they are not trained as accountants. Some of them will get interested in that.
“Most will have to have other people doing their contracts, doing their monitoring, doing their financial negotiations for them.
“This change opens the door to big private healthcare companies, including from America.
“They are licking their lips and standing by for a potential bonanza if we see these sort of changes going ahead.”
Copyright © Press Association 2010
Do you agree with Mr Healey’s comments? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“Absolutely!! I fear for the patients of the future. I fear for the jobs and security of the NHS and the British people in general. We used to feel safe that our health and wellbeing were in safe hands. Now the NHS is under serious threat and the stress that is being caused to an already financially unstable society is being compounded by this. They compare this to fundholding. I was involved in fundholding but this is way beyond this and the capability of most GPs. Most GPs came into this profession to treat patients. They are neither trained nor equipped and do not have the time to manage this folly. When will the government pull its reins in and admit that maybe it’s wrong to do things like this wholesale? Why not pilot this on a smaller scale to see how it works? None of us voted for this coalition government so what gives them the right to push through such large-scale reforms? Could it be they just want to get their names in the history books for whatever reason?” – Anita Jones, Lancashire
“The government always think they know best how to spend taxpayers money, we had huge reforms with fundholding in the 90s, then Labour came to power and we had PCGs which became PCTs, following public and stakeholder consultation now we are about to have PCB. All of these changes cost money and need time to implement. What the government should be looking for is a service which provides the best possible care for the patient at the cheapest price possible, GP practices have a huge understanding of what their patients needs are, but lack certain expertise that FHSAs and now PCTs have. When will the government, be it Labour, Conservative or a coalition understand this, or perhaps GP practices will continue to get the blame for NHS overspending?” – Coral, Winshill Medical Centre