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Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 08:50 UK

'Hidden agenda' behind NHS reforms?


GPs could be given wide-ranging powers over NHS spennding under proposals to be announced later today.

Ministers want doctors to club together in consortia to take charge of billions of pounds of funds for mental health, hospital and community services.

London GP Dr Kambiz Boomla told the Today programme that he believed there was a "hidden agenda" behind the reforms.

He argued that in difficult economic times, some consortia will fail and that this would allow the consortia to be taken over by private companies - meaning healthcare was run for share holders and not patients.

Additionally, he argued, any increase in competition within the healthcare service would inevitably lead to benefits for the wealthy.

"All markets in healthcare result in inequity," he said.

But Northampton GP Dr Adrian Seigar, one of the founders of GP association Nene Commissioning, said that "as long as safeguards were in place," the privatisation of GP consortia would not be an issue.

What is more, he said, the reforms would improve the quality of healthcare.

"As long as clinicians are talking to clinicians, and redesigning care for the benefit of patients, I really think that this is going to work," he said.

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