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PM gives angry response to BMA’s polyclinics claims

13 June 2008

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The Prime Minister has attacked the British Medical Association (BMA) over what he said were “ill-founded” allegations over the future of GP services in England.

Gordon Brown said that privatisation claims and suggestions that existing surgeries face the axe over the Government’s polyclinics plans were “completely wrong”.

The BMA has said that it believes practices will close as a result of the polyclinics plans, with surgeries becoming unviable. It has delivered a 1.2 million-signature petition to Downing Street calling for local GP surgeries to be protected.

The petition also calls on ministers to stop encouraging the use of private firms to deliver primary care – something the BMA calls “creeping commercialisation”.

But Mr Brown reacted angrily to the claims, saying they were totally without foundation. “The issue at the moment is about increasing access to primary care, not replacing the existing GPs,” he said.

“We want GPs to open longer hours and we want them to open at weekends – and if that is not possible in some cases, we want to provide other sources of medical care.” He added that GP numbers had increased “substantially” in recent years.

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