The NHS Alliance and representatives from the independent sector met to discuss the future of primary care commissioning at the conference in London last month.
UnitedHealth Europe’s chief executive Richard Smith said that PCTs currently did not have the skills to improve commissioning, and that the private sector could add value.
He showed an article from The Guardian that mentioned UnitedHealth’s reputation and its recent legal disputes and fines. He said that the private sector entering primary care would not be easy.
The private sector could strengthen commissioning by bringing experience from systems like the US, said Mr Smith.
He encouraged competition between firms supporting commissioning, saying it would improve quality and costs.
‘With such complex problems you benefit from having as many sets of competencies as possible. Public and private can bring more benefit than either alone.’
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