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Head of BMA to run polyclinic

8th January 2009

The chairman of the British Medical Association is part of a consortium that has won a £4m contract to run a new polyclinic.

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Last year, Dr Hamish Meldrum was a firm opponent of polyclinics and headed the BMA drive against the new health centres.

But it has now emerged that his GP practice is one of four surgeries that have joined forces to bid for a five-year contract to run one of the new health centres in Bridlington, east Yorkshire.

The polyclinic is due to open in June and will offer seven-day-a-week GP consultations from 8am-8pm.

Last July, at the BMA annual conference, Dr Meldrum spoke out against the clinics and criticised the government’s "ham-fisted imposition of polyclinics" for pitching GPs into bidding wars with multinational corporations to run them.

He told BMA members: "The BMA wants to see an NHS untarnished by a market economy… not a service run like a shoddy supermarket war. Let's stop pretending that healing the sick is like trading a commodity."

However, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Dr Meldum said he opposed the plan by East Riding Yorkshire Primary Care Trust but said his hand was forced when another of Bridlington's practices formed an alliance with a commercial company to bid for the contract.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "I am delighted by this vote of confidence from the head of the BMA in the new GP-led health centre programme."

The centre will be part of a network of 150 GP-led clinics designed to expand primary care services.

 

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