'GP threat' has public worried12th June 2008
The British Medical Association has delivered a one million-signature petition to Downing Street as part of its campaign against polyclinics.
It was signed by people in support of current surgeries and opposed to the proposed super surgeries.
However, in response Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticised doctors’ leaders for their "ill-founded" opposition to planned changes to GP care in England.
Mr Brown said the issue was about improving access, not axing existing surgeries and that claims by the BMA that the plans would lead to provision being privatised were also wrong.
He said: "The issue at the moment is about increasing access to primary care, not replacing the existing GPs. We want GPs to be open longer hours and we want them open at weekends. And if that is not possible in some cases, we want to provide other sources of medical care."
The rift between doctors and the government follows health minister Lord Darzi’s plan for a separate network of 150 GP-led health centres across England.
Over the past three weeks, the BMA petition has been placed in practices across England and on the web calling on the government to support existing GP practices.
Dr Laurence Buckman, head of the BMA’s GPs committee, urged Mr Brown to take note of the electorate but also warned the government to work with doctors over the issues and to improve services.
The BMA fears the government is trying to commercialise the GP system and wants it to support existing practices and stop the involvement of private firms in the profession.
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Title: 'GP threat' has public worried
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 7107
Date Added: 12th Jun 2008