Private firms will commission in GPs' name, Labour says

Shadow health secretary John Healey has warned that commissioning will not be done by GPs but 'in their name'.

In a heated exchange in Parliament, the shadow health secretary accused his opposite number Andrew Lansley of disguising the 'hard line political ideology' behind the concept of GP commissioning.

Mr Lansley said Mr Healey had 'invented' the concerns, and responded to further attacks from the Labour benches by quoting an article from GP, in which shadow health minister Liz Kendall offered cautious support for the concept of clinical commissioning.

Mr Healey said the plans would 'put no limit on hospitals using NHS beds and NHS staff to treat privately paying patients, and no limit on private companies undercutting and undermining local hospitals'.

He said commissioning would be done by ex-PCT staff and private firms 'in GPs' name'. He argued the Health Bill was like 'an iceberg', with an 'ideological bulk' hidden from the public.

Last week the shadow health secretary spoke at a King's Fund event in London to warn that GPs were being sold a 'false prospectus'.

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