GPs demand cap on private NHS providers over monitoring fears

A GPC negotiator has called for a freeze on private providers taking on NHS services after MPs warned confusion over regulators' roles could lead to poor care being overlooked.

Dr Nagpaul: stop expansion of private providers until regulators' roles clear
Dr Nagpaul: stop expansion of private providers until regulators' roles clear

A report on Tuesday from the House of Commons health select committee called for an urgent review into the roles of the CQC and Monitor. It warned that their parallel roles 'create significant scope for confusion'.

It said 'doubts about the reliability of Monitor's approach to authorisation' had been raised after 'serious failings in quality and safety' emerged at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The trust was authorised by Monitor 'after assurances from CQC'.

The review should be completed urgently, MPs said, particularly given that the Francis report into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust urged the health secretary to transfer part of Monitor's functions to the CQC.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said Monitor and the CQC had a vital role to play in identifying poor practice but this would become more diffficult if the government continued to expand the range of providers delivering NHS services.

'If there are difficulties in monitoring current NHS providers it is hard to see how this function will be delivered as the NHS opens up the market to more providers,’ Dr Nagpaul warned.

The Francis report set out proposals for GP to play an increased role in monitoring standards in secondary careDr Nagpaul said the government needed to be realistic.

'GPs can only report feedback from patients who have attended hospitals,' he said. 'The number of patients for each GP will be very small to build a trend or picture.’

A DH spokesman said: 'We want patients to have confidence in Monitor and the CQC. We are working closely with both organisations as we implement changes to the NHS to make sure that they can work together to maintain high quality, safe services for patients.

'We will respond both to the health select committee and the Francis report in due course.'

A spokesman for Monitor welcomed the select committee report and said the regulator would also respond 'in due course'.

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