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Tories’ plans would give more power to doctors

30 September 2008

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The Conservatives have published plans for the NHS that would see health professionals given power to manage their own surgeries and be required to compete to attract patients.

Tory policy supremo Oliver Letwin (pictured) said the proposals would retain the “treasured” principle that NHS care should be free to patients at the point of use, but will allow different providers to deliver it under the NHS umbrella, using NHS tariffs.

Under the plans, which were unveiled at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, doctors would be able to make their own decisions on targets, rather than being dictated to by bureaucrats.

Ahead of the conference, Mr Letwin told a conference fringe meeting hosted by BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “(The NHS) can be a service which allows for competition of providers – each of them providing it free at the point of use – and with patients making choices about where they want to go on the basis of outcomes delivered, and where instead of the bureaucrats managing it the professionals are managing it in the GP surgeries and competing with each other for patients.”

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