GPs have accused the Health Secretary of trying to undermine the public’s trust in them.
A poll released by the Guardian shows that four in five GPs feel they are being used as “political scapegoats”.
Most respondents (83%) agreed with the statement: “Jeremy Hunt is seeking to undermine public trust in GPs”, and only 3% disagreed.
Very few GPs agreed that the 2004 GP contract was a key contributor to the current overcrowding problems in A&E, while 88% disagreed.
A total of 1,008 GPs were polled from a sample of GPs on Doctors.net.uk.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association council told the Guardian: “All politicians must stop using the NHS as a political football. There is currently a damaging climate where NHS staff in particular are used for partisan point-scoring rather than as partners in a joint effort to address the real workload and financial crisis undermining the health service.”
However, the Department of Health has rejected the findings, claiming the questions were “leading”.
The Department of Health said it was “not a reliable poll as doctors were presented with very leading statements which contravene the code of conduct set out by the Market Research Society that respondents should not be led towards a particular view”.
A spokesman added: “Jeremy Hunt is a strong advocate of GPs who has scrapped 40% of the targets that previously bogged them down in bureaucracy and freed them to give more personal care, but we make no apology for pushing for greater transparency over pay and higher standards for patients.”