I put a question mark after corporate lobbying simply because I have no direct proof myself of this activity. I am close to certain that this activity has taken place over time with respect to the issue of GP practice boundaries, and I think it is likely that this plays a central role in driving this policy. The politicians talk about patient choice, but underneath it all is really an aim to de-regulate English general practice and open it up in quite a new way to for profit companies.
How and why?
At present practices cover a limited geographical area. This limits the number of patients. Remove this factor, make registration free of geography, then it opens up an entirely different model which can be exploited by companies like Virgin Care.
These companies can set up medical centres in major cities, wherever is most profitable. They will attract a clientele of mobile, essentially healthy professional people. They will not have to deal with these patients when they are actually sick because they will be too unwell to travel to their centres; someone else will have to visit them. The elderly, people with chronic diseases, will remain registered with local GPs.
It will be convenient for the mobile and well, and profitable for the firms. But it will not deliver primary care in any real sense, and will in essence be a virtual asset stripping.