DoH reassurance on competition not enough, warns GPC

The GPC is calling for whole clauses to be stripped from the Health Bill, including Monitor's power to 'search and arrest' NHS staff.

Dr Buckman: demands written ammendments to the Health Bill softening Monitor's powers
Dr Buckman: demands written ammendments to the Health Bill softening Monitor's powers

Assurance about  new competition regulations from Monitor, the DoH and NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson 'are not enough', warned GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman.

The DoH and Monitor have said competition law will not prevent collaborative working and NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has written to say 'there is no question' of introducing price competition.

But Dr Buckman said the GPC will not be satisfied until they see written amendments to the Bill softening Monitor's powers.

'It's all very well them saying they have no intention of doing it. But the Health Bill allows them to do it. If they don't intend to do it, why is it in the Health Bill?'

Dr Buckman said Monitor had the power to 'search and arrest' NHS staff found to be engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.

The Irish Medical Association was subjected to a 'dawn raid' under similar laws, said GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden.

The GPC is calling for an amendment to the Health Bill that will allow GP consortia to draw up a shortlist of preferred providers who they commission services from.

Dr Buckman said the list of 'preferred providers' would mean GPs would not have to consider every provider if they do not want to.

He said the amendment would help GPs and patients choose local providers but admitted such a list could help consortia shut out private sector providers.

'Consortia should be able to select a group of providers with whom you generally do business. For most places this is not a particularly wacky situation but the Health Bill would make this very hard. To me, this list would be the places that are nearby, with agreed pathways of care and with whom I have good professional relationships with colleagues. This [commissioning services] is more than just shopping.'

GPs and patients would still have access to a list of all licenced providers should they want to refer or be referred elsewhere.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus