Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Backdoor Privatisation! NHS Patients Offered Private Treatment by GPs

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: GPs are telling patients they can pay them to carry out treatments no longer funded by the NHS, in a move that has raised fresh fears over conflicts of interest and back-door privatisation.

A practice in York has written to about 30 patients who were waiting to have minor skin surgery, advising them that if they still want it carried out they may have to pay up to £250.

One of the companies listed as offering the procedures is wholly owned by the doctors’ surgery sending out the letter.

Managers deny they have done anything wrong but the local Primary Care Trust says it has “significant concerns” and is now investigating the scheme, while leading medical unions say it risks grave conflicts of interest for GPs who may profit personally by suggesting to NHS patients that they can have private treatment, damaging trust in the profession.

It is feared that such problems will become more commonplace after the Health and Social Care Bill becomes law, when local groups led by doctors will hold the budget for £80billion worth of treatment in England rather than managers.

More patients are also likely to have to turn to the private sector for non-emergency care as the NHS tries to make £20billion in efficiency savings by 2015. » | Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent | Tuesday, October 04, 2011