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Views & Reviews Personal View

We need cooperation rather than competition

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 08 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3589
  1. Michael Jenkins, general practitioner, Riverbank Medical Centre, Weston-Super-Mare
  1. mrjmjenkins{at}

A year or two from now general practitioners will be in charge of the NHS budget in England, except in a few specialist areas. Pages of analysis and comment have been written since the white paper was published last July, and the main concerns of the various stakeholders are well documented, boiling down to competition law, sly privatisation, cherry picking of the profitable patients, and the widening gap in health inequality. On the cheerier side, it is taken as read that family doctors are best placed to decide what their patients need and how they can provide for those needs. It’s great to see this unquestioning faith in good old GPs who, a blink of an eye ago, were accused of being fat cats with the new GP contract and never available when their patients wanted them.

Luckily, the businessman Sir Gerry Robinson asked recently on BBC Newsnight, “What evidence is there that GPs know what is best for their patients?” There have been successful pockets of practice …

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