The spectre of American healthcare companies taking over GP Group Practises has been introduced by the Tory led Con-Dem(ned) coalition government.
This is the claim made following an analysis by Channel 4 News of the NHS Reform Bill (entitled Health and Social Care Bill) going through parliament at the moment.
Opening the news item John Snow said,
He went on: “But Channel 4 News can reveal tonight that there is nothing in the legislation currently before Parliament to prevent the outcome no one wants, doctors putting profit before the care of patients. In a special report tonight we show how the new arrangements will create fundamental conflicts of interest potentially harming the trust at the very heart of the doctor patient relationship.”
Surprisingly it was not until the issue was raised and warning given by Channel 4 News that MPs even understood this threat and gaping hole in the proposed legislation, which enables the privatisation of health care in the UK. It takes us back to pre 1948 and will effectively destroy the NHS as we know it.
Channel 4 News programme’s 10 minute report was reported by Victoria McDonald, who said,
“ ……. But Channel 4 News can reveal that there are serious flaws in this legislation, that is its failure to protect the patient against fundamental conflicts of interest. That is it allows GPs to put profit before care and the MPs over there in Westminster don’t even seem to have noticed that this is missing from the Bill.”
With the abolition of Primary Care Trusts who currently control health care spending, 80% of those funds will be handed over to GPs to spend on our health care. Victoria McDonald’s report highlighted a document from a major company, Integrated Health Partners on how profit can be made by individual GPs as a result of the new legislation.
During a 3 minute interview with Lord Howe, following the report, it was shocking to see just how out of touch he was as to what is actually in the Bill.
He seemed quite shocked when told of the gaping hole in the legislation and merely said, “That will not be allowed to happen!” He could not however state where exactly within the proposed Health and Social Care Bill that it stated this would be illegal and how patients would be protected.
Instead he referred to the new Monitor’s Office which will examine the individual group practice arrangements with their health care service providers. John Snow’s repose was that “this beggars belief!” Clearly there would not be enough staffing power to oversee every individual group practice arrangement in the whole of the UK, and will result in damage to patients and the requirement of action after the even following complaints from patients.
However, the Labour Party shadow minister John Healey's response was lack-lustre and quite shocking. All he had to say was that he promises to work hard to amend the Bill in order to stop the possibility of GPs and American companies from profiting from the government money they are given to pay for healthcare services.
A major company by the name of Integrated Health Partners has already put out plans to recruit over 1000 GPs to a scheme which they say will result in at least 5% personal profit for all GPs joining the consortium and by being both the GP and shareholder in healthcare services they refer their own patients to. This is irrespective of medical need of the patient and under the new legislation will be legal!
John Snow for Channel 4 News questioning Lord Howe said:
“The spectre this raises minister is of huge American medical companies coming into this country and doing what they do in the united states which is giving a very bad service to people who cant afford very much, and a very good and perhaps over good service to those people who can in which they make money out of operations that are not required.”
In reply Lord Howe said, “It may raise that spectre but I am telling you that it cannot happen.”
Despite his protestations the report by Channel 4 which examined the NHS Reform Bill clearly proved that it can and probably will happen under the current legislation being proposed.
You can see the full report form Channel 4 News via their website here and choosing the Wednesday 2nd March edition.
You can download the full Bill here
Source: Channel 4 news