This letter was published in the Independent newspaper :
Hospital doctors must have a role
You report that Andrew Lansley is holding out on letting hospital doctors have a role in deciding what care the NHS provides to patients (10 May). Why? Modern medicine increasingly requires vertical integration of treatment, where specialist hospital doctors and GPs work together to provide both acute and chronic health provision. It is not only logical but vitally important that the skill of hospital doctors is not lost.
Though the argument against hospital doctors having a role in commissioning is based on a perceived conflict of interest, a recent report in the GP magazine Pulse suggested that 10 per cent of GPs in consortia have declared private healthcare business interests. "Conflict of interest" cannot be a valid argument against involving hospital doctors.
To achieve a world-beating health service, all talents need to be actively engaged in the highly complex commissioning. Actively excluding experts from this process without good reason is indefensible.
Michelle Tempest, Psychiatrist
Christoph Lees, Obstetrician
Daniel Carroll, Paediatric Surgeon, Cambridge