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Keep Scottish GP practices public, say doctors

24 September 2009

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GPs have called for MSPs to put patients before profits and not grant GP service contracts to private companies.

Keeping primary care services public is the only way to ensure patient care remains the top priority in the Scottish medical sector, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.

Rural areas and deprived communities will be the first to suffer from service cuts, as it can be unprofitable and costly to run primary medical care in such places, warned the organisation.

MSPs will soon debate the Tobacco and Primary Care Services (Scotland) Bill, which includes proposals to award GP contracts to nurses and commercial providers.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPs’ Committee (pictured), said uncertain short-term contracts between patients and commercial companies would undermine basic patient expectations of NHS services.

He said: “The concept of providing care ‘from the cradle to the grave’ still rings true today and it is the bond of trust between patient and GP developed upon a basis of continuity of care that is at risk if profit is put before patients.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009