NHS competition rules to be changed
The government has agreed to re-write controversial rules on contracting out within the NHS in England.
The regulations were published three weeks ago to produce guidance on how the NHS reforms may be implemented.
But critics had argued they might open up many more services to competition from private companies and will disrupt services for patients.
Health Minister Norman Lamb told MPs the wording of the regulations had “inadvertently created confusion”.
He said there can be no privatisation of the NHS and that competition was just a means to improving services not an result in itself.
The regulations were drawn up as previous guidance at the issue was set to be rendered obsolete since it applied to organisations that were being scrapped on 1 April.
But when they were laid before parliament concerns were voiced that they broke previous assurances from ministers concerning the extent to which competition was going for use.
Last week greater than 1,000 doctors have written to the Daily Telegraph claiming the legislation makes “virtually the whole lot” of the NHS open to non-public firms.
Then over the weekend the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges said it might probably cause “dangerous” fragmentation of health services.
Labour had also managed to secure a debate at the issue within the Lords. It was resulting from occur later within the month.
Mr Lamb acknowledged the worries, but said it was an issue of the regulations being badly drafted in place of an intention to ramp up using competition.
He added: “I even have listened to people’s concerns and my department is acting quickly to enhance the drafting in order that there may well be without doubt that the regulations go no further than the former set of principles and rules inherited from the former Labour government.”
But shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the changingof the regulations represented a “humiliating retreat”.
“In under four weeks’ time new GP commissioners take control and yet today there’s complete confusion concerning the job they’re being asked to do.
“Coalition policy on competition inside the NHS is in utter chaos.”