GPs in Scotland urge government to outlaw private providers

Twenty GPs in Scotland have written to the Scottish Executive to demand changes to the laws that allow private providers to tender for primary care services.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

The three laws cited include the 2004 act which introduced PMS and GMS contracts to Scotland - making any change a further blow to the UK-wide contract.

In an open letter, GPs, academics and socialist politicians welcomed health minister Nicola Sturgeon's guarantee that there would be ‘no privatisation' of GP services in Scotland. But they warned that the guarantee could be undermined by current laws, which open all tenders to provide GP services to any provider, including private companies.

The letter argues that allowing commercial providers to supply primary care ‘will be destructive for patients and costly for government. However, in Scotland, legislation is still in place that enables... for-profit commercial providers [to] compete for patients and money'.

Dr Chris Johnstone, a GP in Paisley and one of the letter's signatories, said that the market for GP services had been opened up as a direct result of the 2004 contract.

No private providers have yet signed up to provide GP services in Scotland.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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