'Help practices compete against firms'

PCTs must level the playing field for GP providers to bid on equal terms for the new practice opportunities opened up in Lord Darzi’s report, according to the chairman of the NHS Alliance.

GP practices must be offered access to the business expertise they need to put in bids to rival large outsider companies for the 100 new practices and 150 new health centres.

Otherwise inner cities could be handed over to healthcare companies offering extended hours and easy access but no family medicine or holistic care, Dr Mike Dixon, a GP in Cullompton, Devon warned.

‘Given that PCTs’ job is to create a provider market, there needs to be a means whereby they can help NHS bodies and develop providers they are happy with to enable them to put in bids,’ Dr Dixon said.

The NHS Alliance is calling for the abolition of the rules on commercial secrecy so that private companies tendering against NHS bodies obey the same rules of openness, transparency and fairness.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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