LMC Conference 2014: NHS should be provided by public sector, say GP leaders

LMCs have called on the GPC to campaign for the NHS in England to be provided by the public sector and hit out at the government for accelerating privatisation.

LMC conference: backed public sector provision of NHS (photo: Pete Hill)
LMC conference: backed public sector provision of NHS (photo: Pete Hill)

Dr Gerard Reissmann from Newcastle and North Tyneside said the government was taking state resources and shifting them into the private sector. £13bn of NHS contracts had been advertised since the Health Act came in, up 300% on the previous year, he said, and 68% had been awarded to commercial firms.

Dr Reissmann said a private equity-owned health firm had taken over a practice where he worked in 2012 on a five-year contract, but announced two weeks ago it was pulling out in January 2015.

'It wasn't making the money they wanted, so on they moved,’ he said.

Dr Adrian Richardson from Brent LMC said he is a former director of private provider Harmoni.

Failing NHS services

He said failing services were not unique to private providers. 'Can I mention Stafford,' he said, 'and a whole host of other NHS services up and down the country that have let patients down.'

'We live and work with the products of profit-making organisations, that are essential parts of the care we give. General practice is a business. Don't pass a motion that sends us back into the past world of the 1970s, of nationalisations, of poor public services.'

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash told the conference: 'We all know the Health and Social Care Act, particularly section 75, is an act of enablement. And that act is to enable privatisation.'

Dr McCarron-Nash urged LMCs to vote for parts of a motion warning over the rise in privatisation, but warned that as independent contractors GPs should think carefully about voting for the GPC to campaign for an entirely public sector-provided NHS.

But LMCs backed the motion in full.

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