GPs lead bidding on new contracts

Claims of a 'corporate takeover of primary care' are wide of the mark, according to academics led by a former director of the DoH strategy unit.

Professor Chris Ham and colleagues from the University of Birmingham said in a report last week that GP-led companies were dominating bidding for new primary care contracts.

The findings echo comments from both health secretary Alan Johnson and the DoH clinical director of primary care Dr David Colin-Thome.

But the report added that GP-led health centres could undermine existing practices and create under-used surgeries in areas that do not have the demand to make use of them.

'There is a very real possibility that new services will be under-utilised in some areas. If this turns out to be the case, the commissioning of new primary medical care provision will offer poor value for money for taxpayers,' the report says.

The report also reiterates claims that private firms are losing interest in taking part in primary care, because of concerns about the financial viability of the DoH's Equitable Access procurement plan.

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