Reaction: how GP leaders responded to DH rethink on competition

The RCGP, BMA and other groups welcomed plans to redraft competition regulations and called for changes that protect patients and allow freedom for commissioners.

Professor Clare Gerada: urging DH to discuss regulation changes
Professor Clare Gerada: urging DH to discuss regulation changes


RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada said: 'We are delighted - and relieved - that the government has listened to us and responded so quickly and positively. We are also grateful to the many individuals and organisations who rallied to support the college after we raised our concerns last week.

'We now urge the government to work with us to develop an acceptable set of replacement regulations that will ensure GP commissioners have the freedom to make decisions in the best interests of our patients and in line with the values that have underpinned the NHS for the past 65 years.'


BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said:  'The new version of the regulations must be crystal clear on the key areas about which the BMA and other healthcare organisations had serious reservations.

'With a significant raft of NHS changes due to take place in April, it is clearly in everyone's interest to ensure that commissioners are completely clear about the rules.

'It will be vital to have an absolute reassurance that commissioners really will be allowed to make the best decisions about the use of competition in providing high quality services for their local populations. Commissioners must not be forced into tendering services
inappropriately, wasting the NHS precious time and money.'


Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: 'No one should be fooled into thinking that Norman Lamb’s announcement that the regulations will be amended is sufficient.  With or without the regulations, the Health and Social Care Act remains the most damaging piece of legislation ever aimed at the NHS.

'The government should properly redesign the rules to make clear that, as a minimum, competition is not compulsory and nor is it an end in itself.  This latest debacle only serves to emphasise the mess the government is in less than a month before the new health system comes online on 1 April.'

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

A spokesman said: ‘The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges welcomes the decision of the government to withdraw the proposed regulations on procurement and competition. We are pleased that the government has clearly listened to the concerns expressed by the academy both in writing and in person to Earl Howe about the potential effect of the regulations.

‘We now await the revised regulations which we trust will address the concerns we expressed and more clearly align with the assurances given by the government during the passage of Health and Social Care Act.’

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