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27-03-2013 | Article

Monitor reviews barriers to patient choice


Monitor – A Fair Playing Field Report

Health regulator Monitor has issued a report setting out a range of recommendations to ensure patients are being offered the best services by providers, including GP practices.

The regulator was asked by the Department of Health to review potential barriers that providers might face in providing NHS services.

The resulting report, "A Fair Playing Field", states that issues relating to GP practices raised in the review include: the perceived reluctance of primary care trusts (PCTs) to commission new services against the wishes of existing local practices and Local Medical Committees (LMC); perceived conflicts of interest that may in the future prevent clinical commissioning groups from commissioning services from new entrants; and concerns about a lack of choice of GPs for patients.

But GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautry told Pulse Magazine: "To suggest that an LMC could prevent PCTs or NHS England from establishing new practices in their area is simply nonsense. They don't have that detail and they never had that detail."

Monitor now recommends "a call for evidence by June 2013 to help determine the extent to which the commissioning and provision of general practice and associated services is operating in the best interests of patients".

In light of the recommendation, the Department of Health has asked the regulator to set up a review group.

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said: "A key conclusion of our Review is that the extent to which patients get access to the best possible provider is often determined by how commissioners go about their job.

"As the role of commissioners changes, Monitor will support them to do the best job they can for the people who use the NHS."

Medical News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lucy Piper, Senior medwireNews Reporter