Health and Social Care Bill — Report (3rd Day) — Relevant documents: 18th and 22nd Reports from the Constitution Committee
Lord Winston (Labour)
My Lords, perhaps I may deal very briefly deal with one area of medicine with which the noble Lord, Lord Patel, and I are particularly familiar. One problem raised is that increasingly general practitioners are doing minor surgical procedures; increasingly in practice, often in groups. I know of one large practice in south-east England, for example, that is now carrying out a procedure called a hysteroscopy, which is an endoscopic or telescopic examination of the inside of the uterus. This is quite a specialised procedure designed to identify cancers of the uterus at an early stage. The problem is that general practitioners may well be able to carry out this procedure somewhat more cheaply than gynaecologists in a practising group. Of course, there is clearly a conflict of interest here, because they may well be in the very practice that is also commissioning this procedure, and a patient might perhaps be wrongly given a particular treatment when a slightly more expensive treatment, done elsewhere, may be more effective and reduce the risk of the cancer.