'Healthcare sell-off makes GPs millions'. Anything to worry about here?

(2 Posts)
Solopower1 Sun 11-Nov-12 17:22:37
Solopower1 Sun 11-Nov-12 17:21:14

.... apart from the 750 jobs to go from NHS Direct, that is?

Here are some quotes from the article.

'Five family doctors have this week become millionaires from the sale of their NHS-funded firm to one of the country's biggest private healthcare companies in a deal that reveals how physicians can potentially profit from government policy in the new NHS.

On Tuesday, the private health company Care UK announced that it had paid £48m for England's biggest out-of-hours GP service, Harmoni, originally set up as a GP co-operative, creating a new private health concern that could treat 15 million patients. The deal shows how GPs could profit from the coalition's health reforms by using their expertise to bid for contracts, then cashing in when a corporation buys them out.

...

It emerged on Friday that NHS Direct is to close 24 of its 30 call centres with the loss of more than 750 jobs. The trade union Unison said large centres in Bristol, Sheffield, Wakefield, Nottingham, Hull, Stafford, Chelmsford and Newcastle were among those due to close.

In contrast, the biggest winners from ministers' push on 111 appear to be a private equity group, ECI – which can take about £20m from the Care UK purchase of Harmoni – and a group of GPs who will share a pot of more than £25m.

...

Another winner seems to be NHS reform champion Ian Goodman. The north-west London GP chairs the Hillingdon clinical commissioning group and was also a board director of Harmoni. He could make as much as £2.6m. During the passage of the bill, he told reporters that he had declared his interests and would "quite rightly be excluded from any decision-making process where Harmoni was bidding".

...

Even for well-paid doctors, this is big money. At present, fewer than 3% of GPs earn more than £200,000 a year. Labour has warned that GPs' conflicts of interests – in essence rewarding themselves for providing cut-price care – could be as big a scandal as MPs' expenses.

The shadow health minister Jamie Reed told the Guardian: "As the private sector takes over out of hours services, it's a dangerous mix of medicine and the money motive. Ministers must not let profits come before patients; vital services must not be pared down to the bone." '

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