Speaking at the launch of the Open Public Services White Paper in London yesterday, David Cameron said: 'It astonishes me that it's those who call themselves progressive, who say they're on the side of the poorest, who are the most anti-opening up public services. It's the current system that is incredibly unfair.
'People with money can get friendly with their local GP at a dinner party, maybe see them out-of-hours if there's an emergency... In this world of restricted choice and freedom it's the poorest who lose out. Well these plans are about creating those opportunities for everyone.'
The speech also underlined the government's enthusiasm for league tables for GP practices revealed last week. Mr Cameron said: 'Five years ago, it was made far easier for the public to access, understand and use data on survival rates following heart surgery. And guess what happened? Survival rose dramatically. This shouldn't surprise us.'
The White Paper also re-affirms the government's commitment to abolishing practice boundaries. It says: 'We will give patients a clear ability to choose to register with a practice not restricted by where they live and we will make it easier for patients to register at a practice or book an appointment to see their GP online.
'We will enable patients to have control of their health records starting with access to records held by their GP. We will aggregate clinical data available in a standard and comparable form and promote it in an easily understandable way so the patients can assess how their practices compare with others, enabling them to exercise choice.'
Mr Cameron revealed the coalition's plans to give the public more choice by opening up the public sector to a range of providers.
‘The contents of this White Paper will be felt in every state school, hospital and prison, by every doctor, teacher, parent, patient and citizen,’ the prime minister said.
Mr Cameron said that multiple providers would give the public more choice and would have widespread implications for the public sector.
He added that changes would allow patients to make informed choices and take control of their own healthcare.
‘In the old way of doing things, you’d go along to a doctor who might send you to a hospital to have a scan and operation.
‘Now, you can look online and check the hospital out.
‘If you’re not happy with the performance there, you can choose a different hospital, an NHS one or one run independently – anywhere that’s registered as safe and charges the NHS going rate,’ Mr Cameron said.