MP calls for Health Bill change

EASINGTON MP Grahame Morris is calling for changes to the Health Bill saying there are no safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest among private healthcare providers.

Mr Morris asked health minister Simon Burns whether licensed private healthcare providers will be allowed to provide services and enter into a contract with GP consortia to carry out duties in relation to their work as commissioning bodies.

Mr Burns said consortia will be free, within legislative framework, to “make the decisions that they judge are right for patients and provide value for money”.

He added that the GP consortia “will have the freedom to decide what commissioning activities they undertake for themselves and for what activities they choose to buy in support from external organisations, including local authorities, private and voluntary sector bodies”.

But Mr Morris, member of the Health Bill committee, says this would clear the way for private health providers to take a lead role in commissioning decisions and ultimately award themselves lucrative multi-million-pound contracts.

He said: “This is the clearest admission yet that private health companies will not only be providing healthcare, but could take control of the NHS budget as well.

“There will be nothing to stop a licensed healthcare provider from also being contracted by GPs to help with commissioning.

“There are simply no safeguards in place to protect against the blatant conflict of interest that will arise from handing over the £80 billion NHS budget to privately-run commissioning groups.”