Friday, 7 October 2011

NHS reforms: GPs target NHS patients for private work

The news last week that a medical practice in York wrote to a number of its NHS patients claiming, incorrectly, that the local NHS would not fund a number of routine operations - and then proceeded to promote private care from a company wholly owned by the same medical practice, is deeply worrying. Not only does it appear to be a dangerous new phase for the health service, but it also exposes what one commentator called (quite rightly) a "massive conflict of interest".

These kinds of conflicts of interest were highlighted by critics of Lansley's reforms, and this is no doubt one of the first of many such cases.

Meanwhile, news that many NHS hospitals are expanding the proportion of private patients only underlines the worries that so many people have over a bill that - as another commentator rightly points out - nobody voted for.

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