Firms could use competition rules to force out GPs

Private firms could use competition rules to force PCTs to break up existing GPs' contracts, according to the panel responsible for regulating competition in the NHS.

Theoretically, any provider can appeal to the NHS Cooperation and Competition Panel (CCP) to force a PCT to put GP services out to tender.

Andrew Taylor, director of the CCP told GP: 'The private health provider would have to enter a "procurement dispute" based on the PCT's decision not to tender.

'Their case would be based on the fact that the PCT was not procuring from other companies best placed to provide that service.'

The CCP uses the DoH's 2008 guidance, the 'Procurement Guide for Health Services', to decide whether a PCT is procuring services fairly.

Under the guidelines, the more potential providers there are, the stronger the case for PCTs to tender out services. Bidders would have to demonstrate they were better than the existing provider. Mr Taylor admitted this would be 'a hard task'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said PCTs would find it 'impossible' to break up a GMS contract. But PMS and APMS deals may be more vulnerable.

Dr Buckman would not speculate on whether private providers would bid to take over GPs' contracts, but said the competition guidance was creating 'the wrong model for general practice'.

Last week CCP chairman Lord Carter of Coles told GP newspaper that any practice would almost certainly have to be tendered under the DoH procurement guidance (GP, 5 June).

Earlier this month the BMA launched a campaign against the 'marketisation' of NHS services in response to the introduction of competition.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

BMA threatens legal action over 'astronomical' GP service charge hikes

BMA threatens legal action over 'astronomical' GP service charge hikes

BMA leaders have threatened legal action over 'astronomical' service charges that...

Hundreds of patients join walk to support GP with rare cancer

Hundreds of patients join walk to support GP with rare cancer

Hundreds of patients in Northumberland have come together to show support for their...

Lack of support behind higher GMC referral rate for BAME doctors

Lack of support behind higher GMC referral rate for BAME doctors

High rates of GMC referrals for doctors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)...

Last person standing GPs 'should quit NHS pension scheme'

Last person standing GPs 'should quit NHS pension scheme'

GP partners left as the 'last person standing' in their practice should quit the...

Doctors are being 'taxed out of the NHS', warns BMA chair

Doctors are being 'taxed out of the NHS', warns BMA chair

The NHS risks being brought to a standstill because 'perverse and punitive pension...

Welsh GP contract deal delivers £25m funding boost and partner incentives

Welsh GP contract deal delivers £25m funding boost and partner incentives

GPs in Wales will receive a £25m increase in funding in 2019/20 as part of a new...