Celtic governments reject NHS privatisation

Northern Ireland lmcs' conference. No private providers, telehealth and a threat from large trusts.

The three Celtic governments will not pursue England's privatisation agenda, according to GPC Northern Ireland.

Dr Brian Dunn, GPC Northern Ireland chairman, was more concerned about the threat to general practice from the five large trusts in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the Northern Ireland LMC conference in Newcastle, County Down on Sunday, Dr Dunn said a rare joint statement from the health ministers of three countries implied they were distancing themselves from England's policy.

The statement was signed by Scottish health minister Nicola Sturgeon, Northern Irish minister of health Michael McGimpsey and Welsh minister for health and social services Edwina Hart.

'All three ministers are implying they are not in favour of a privatisation agenda. Our government certainly does not have a privatisation agenda, and none of the three political parties are promoting it,' Dr Dunn said.

The statement says 'inter-governmental co-operation' will ensure the NHS remains 'a public service of which our citizens can be proud'.

Northern Ireland GPC was congratulated by LMC members for negotiating a more favourable GMS agreement with the assembly government than the GPC in England. A motion was passed at the conference to recognise the threat to general practice from the five trusts, which are among the largest primary care organisations in the UK.

'We don't have a threat from privatisation but the trusts want to cherry pick the more attractive services and run them themselves,' said Dr Dunn.

A motion to invite APMS providers in to discuss their intentions was unanimously rejected among laughter.

'We are happy that private providers aren't involved and I'm happy to keep it that way,' said Dr Dunn.

Practices would have to work together in the long-term to protect themselves, he added.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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