The principal objective of the Association is to maintain the rights of the patient and doctor, the freedom of referral and clinical practice in the face of ever growing constraints by medical insurance companies under the guise of “managed care”.
Many doctors in London, and elsewhere in the UK, have become increasingly concerned about the changes occurring in private practice and the trend towards managed care. In essence, some of the insurance companies are attempting to assume far greater influence over the referral pathways and the management of the patient.
That the goal posts were being shifted at the heart of private practice has led many consultants to realise the need to form a well organised and cohesive association to counter changes which are not in the best interest of the patient, GP or consultants.
In 2005 the original objectives of the LCA remain the same but new pressures in the independent market have meant a bewildering array of new changes and proposals. Many of these are poorly evaluated and many will not come to fruition. However, as noted elsewhere on this website the changes will be dramatic and London will not be insulated entirely from the national picture. This turmoil confirms even more the need for the LCA, which is a potent voice on behalf of its members and more importantly their patients.
For very good practical, clinical and ethical reasons, there has always been freedom for the GP and patient to choose their consultant. The contract has always existed between the consultant and the patient and not between consultant and the insurance company.
All consultants should be judged on their ability to practice in their chosen field to the highest standard. Patients should not be restricted to the choice of consultant prescribed by a health insurance provider.
It is the aim of the LCA to maintain the contractual relationship between the patient and the consultant.