Letter: Funding patients

Sir: Clive Parr (letter, 4 June) fails to see the essential difference between the old schemes for assisting in the development of GPs' premises and the new one connected with fund-holding.

With the old schemes there was no direct conflict of interest with patient care. With fund-holders there is, as Dr Markus pointed out (letter, 28 May), for if a fund-holding practice can reduce the money it spends on the care of its patients, it can divert that money into the improvement (and therefore the value) of privately owned practice premises. This is bound to lead to the suspicion that patients may be deprived of care so that GPs can profit. This potential conflict of interest should not be allowed to persist.

Dr IRVINE LOUDON

Wantage, Oxfordshire

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