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Private sector a threat to primary care, say practice managers

Private sector providers pose a serious threat to the quality of general practice and to patient care, say 68% of the UK's practice managers in a major survey of the profession.

Many suggested that the private sector could "cherry pick" the most lucrative services, to leave the NHS funding costly, unprofitable treatments.

Practice managers were also concerned that general practice may increasingly place profits before patients.

This was just one of the findings from one of the largest surveys of practice managers carried out in the UK, conducted by Management in Practice. The survey received a total of 609 responses.

Tom Brownlie, chief executive of AMSPAR, said: "The argument here is that practices are small businesses themselves.

"But there is a serious threat of multinationals moving into the sector, and we only have to look across the Atlantic to see where this could potentially lead.

"The situation has to be vigorously monitored to ensure a level playing field for all, with the focus on the patient and not the pound."

Management in Practice

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I agree primary care is under threat and practices are under enormous stress to extend hours even if pt are happy with arrangements." - Mary Swinney, The Glen Medical Group, Hebburn