A UK Government Health Minister has admitted he would share a senior peer’s concern if profit making became a barrier to NHS patients being able to register with their local GP.

Lord Kamall was responding to Lord Rogan’s oral question in the House of Lords earlier today after it emerged that an American health insurance company had taken over 37 GP practices in London, adding to the 22 primary care services it already runs across the UK.

The firm now has full control of the NHS-funded contracts to run the London surgeries.

Lord Rogan told peers: “I have great respect for GPs, but with general practices paid for the number of patients they register, profit-driven services may carry the risk of some GPs choosing to register younger and fitter patients who will have to be seen less often than older patients.”

He asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care: “Would you really be comfortable if this situation played out?”

Lord Kamall replied: “I think it’s appropriate that GPs do register as many patients as they are able to see and that patients, whatever their needs, are able to have access to our great system of healthcare in this country.

But he added: “I would indeed be concerned where there ever issues or barriers to accessing GP services.”

Barry White
Barry White has worked for communications agencies in London and Yorkshire, serving the needs of clients including DLA Piper, Kingfisher, Severn Trent plc, Deloitte, and RSA Security. He is a former senior press officer at Yorkshire Forward and, for 25 years, has provided professional communications advice to local and national politicians in Westminster, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.