"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Friday, 8 October 2010

GPs should not own their premises

GPs are small businesses and they contract to the NHS. Most members of the public think that GPs are the NHS but the relationship is more complicated than that.

Anyway Pulse today reported a rather interesting article that essentially says that if GPs owned their own premises it would "frustrate’ the Government’s reforms". This is the point of view of an organisation called the Local Improvement Finance Trust Council (LIFT Co). LIFT Co while sounding slightly community based, are actually an organisation that represents the privatisers waiting to benefit from the break up of the NHS. Pulse report that LIFT says:
'Should providers own and manage the primary and community care estate, the Government’s reforms will be frustrated,' the council said. 'Any willing provider necessitates changing providers when standards fall.'
Some PCTs own GP practices and LIFT are suggesting that their members should manage these premises through 'expert asset managers'.

This is a deliberate threat to GPs. It will be interesting to see how Lansley will manage this. LIFT have a point, if Lansley is serious about "any willing provider" then he will insist that poorly performing GPs are replaced. Replacing a GP practice with another becomes far more complicated if the premises are owned by the practice, and the public will suffer if they have to go to different premises to see their doctor. But the implication of this idea is very serious. GPs who (mostly) have operated from their own premises will find that some quasi private organisation will take it over. GPs will no longer have ownership fo their premises and a distant landlord is unlikely to be as responsive to the surgery needs as an owner-occupier.

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