Managers oppose BMA’s anti-commercialisation campaign

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Healthcare Republic | Neil Durham | 15 February 2010

The NHS Confederation has declared its opposition to the BMA’s Look After Our NHS campaign against the commercialisation of the NHS.

Nigel Edwards, NHS Confederation director of policy, said: ‘With the £20bn of savings in the NHS required over the next five years, the focus must continue on reducing costs while also driving up quality. Given the scale of this challenge, to rule out any use of the independent or third sector would remove a very important source of innovation and change that can help to deliver improvements.

‘It is clear from surveys and opinion polls that the public are far more interested in the quality of care they receive within the NHS than whether it is from an existing or independent sector provider.’

Susan Anderson, the CBI’s director for public services and skills, said: ‘Patients should come before politics. We shouldn’t deny high-quality healthcare to communities just because it is offered by private sector providers as part of the NHS.’

James Gubb, director of the health unit at independent think tank Civitas, said: ‘The BMA’s stance goes to the heart of the debate in the NHS at present: whether the financial challenges facing the NHS meant taxpayers’ money should be spent supporting NHS providers, or spent on the provider – NHS or non-NHS – that can offer the best deal on quality and cost.

‘I suspect most of the public would side with the latter. Affinity lies with the values underlying the NHS: universal, comprehensive healthcare, free-at-the-point-of-use, rather than who provides the service.’

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Private firms are ‘more likely to win’ APMS bids

Posted on October 1, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | GP newspaper | By Tom Ireland | 1 October 2009

APMS contracts Research shows GP bidders for contracts rarely emerge on top if private firms compete.

Richard Vautrey

Richard Vautrey

GPs are only likely to win APMS contracts when large private firms are not bidding, according to research.

A review of APMS contracts in the British Journal of General Practice found just two cases where an independent GP beat commercial companies to secure an APMS contract.

‘GPs or social enterprises are more likely to win a contract in the absence of any competition or when they are competing with each other,’ it found.

‘This raises serious concerns about the existence of a “level playing field”,’ write its authors, from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for International Public Health Policy.

The researchers asked all PCTs in England for details of any APMS contracts that had been awarded or were out to tender. A total of 49 PCTs had awarded one or more of the contracts and 30 also gave details of unsuccessful bidders.

Half of all APMS contract tenders were awarded to large commercial companies (36 out of 71) compared with 28 awarded to GPs. At least 14 commercial providers hold APMS contracts in England, and at least eight other firms have bid unsuccessfully.

The researchers said the lack of data the DoH has on APMS deals makes comparing cost, value and services difficult.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the research showed private companies were ‘cherry picking’ financially attractive deals. 

He also said the difficulty obtaining information about APMS contracts from PCTs was ‘a real concern’. ‘There isn’t the openness and support we see with standard contracts. That’s worrying when the government is pronouncing value for money.’

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