If you have previously recommended this thread, you should see a tick / check mark on the recommend button. Click the tick to undo the recommendation (the tick may appear to change to a cross as you do this.) If you added a comment with your recommendation, you will need to delete that from your facebook wall separately.
The Government has proposed legislation to open up the NHS to the private sector
SIR As doctors and health-care workers, we are concerned about the Governments proposed secondary legislation (under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act) to force virtually every part of the English NHS to be opened up to the private sector to bid for its contracts.
These regulations were proposed on February 13 and will become law on April 1 unless MPs first insist on a debate and then vote them down.
Parliament does not normally debate or vote on this type of regulation, but it is possible. We urge parliamentarians to force a debate and vote on this issue to prevent another nail in the coffin of a publicly provided NHS free from the motive of corporate profit.
GP leader urges rethink over health service competition
Dr Michael Dixon says ministers must revise wording of regulations proposed in section 75 of Health and Social Care Act
--- Family doctors will desert the new NHS bodies that take control of £60bn of health spending from next month if ministers do not rethink plans to force them to use private firms to treat patients, a GP leader has warned.
Dr Michael Dixon, interim president of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said GPs were so angry that they would stop running the 212 new clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that will become key bodies in the NHS in April.
The Department of Health's apparent insistence that they open a wide range of health services to competition was a make-or-break test of the freedom that ministers promised for CCGs, Dixon said.
He said ministers must revise the wording of regulations proposed in section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act, which comes into effect on 1 April, setting out how competition should work in the new NHS setup.
"The danger about the current wording of section 75 is that it seems to put a duty upon the commissioners to go for competition with all contracts that are made [by CCGs]. Unless the commissioner is king, the whole system is going to fall down. And worse still, the clinicians will walk and feel the whole thing has been a complete waste of time," he told the medical website Pulse.
The Royal College of GPs has also put pressure on ministers to reconsider by calling for the regulations to be withdrawn.
In a letter to the health minister Lord Howe, the college's chair, Dr Clare Gerada, came close to accusing the Department of Health of deception, saying assurances given by the government last year that CCGs would be free to commission services from whichever providers they wanted had not been honoured in section 75.
Unless the regulations were changed, CCGs would feel obliged to put all contracts out to tender. "This will have significant implications for local determination, stability of services and transaction costs, with an ultimately negative impact on patient care," Gerada wrote.
The health department played down the row. A spokesman said ministers were "absolutely committed to the principle that doctors and nurses in clinical commissioning groups will be able to decide how services should be provided, because they know what patient's need best of all".
But hinting at a rethink, he added: "However, we do recognise that concerns have been raised about the way in which the regulations could be understood and we want to do everything we can to address these issues and provide clarity for all concerned.