Big foreign firms are "licking their lips" at the prospect of commissioning billions of pounds of services on behalf of GPs if controversial NHS reforms go ahead, Labour has claimed.
Shadow health secretary John Healey warned of the risks of the Government's planned shake-up of healthcare that will see England's 152 primary care trusts (PCTs) abolished.
Consortia of GPs will then assume responsibility for the commissioning of services for patients from hospitals and other health providers.
But Mr Healey questioned the effectiveness of the changes, which he said would cost £3 billion. They would put the NHS "under strain" and would worry patients and the public, he claimed.
He told Sky News: "Is it really sensible to put twice the size of the defence budget in the hands of GPs each year, especially as this is public money, taxpayers' money to find the health service for the future?
"GPs are being trained to look after and treat patients, they are not trained as accountants. Some of them will get interested in that.
"Most will have to have other people doing their contracts, doing their monitoring, doing their financial negotiations for them.
"This change opens the door to big private healthcare companies, including from America.
"They are licking their lips and standing by for a potential bonanza if we see these sort of changes going ahead."