25 May 2007 | Antony Barton
Private sector provision should only be commissioned where there is no NHS capacity to provide the service, according to the British Medical Association.
The professional association of doctors, which has more than 139,000 members, says there is no evidence the private sector offers improved services or better value than the NHS.
In a discussion paper outlining an alternative approach to health reform, the BMA says there should be no further central procurement of private sector provision.
The association is opposed to privatisation of the NHS and adds research and educational activity should be core to all parts of the health service.
It goes on to say: "Current barriers to these objectives that are presently developing within the framework of multiple providers should be removed."
This follows concerns that include the NHS deal with DHL and its capacity to procure £3.7 billion of products and services (Features, 2 November 2006).
The paper, A rational way forward for the NHS in England, follows nine-months of research by the BMA into NHS reform. It will be debated at the annual representative meeting next month and the amended version will become a white paper later this year for wider distribution.
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