GP to take petition to Downing Street

PUBLISHED: 05:50 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:53 15 June 2010

A HONITON GP is to take a petition to Downing Street and she wants local patients to put their names to her cause.

A HONITON GP is to take a petition to Downing Street and she wants local patients to put their names to her cause.Dr Beth McCarron-Nash is backing a British Medical Council initiative, which aims to encourage patients to support their surgery by signing a birthday card to the NHS, which is 60 years old.GPs are worried that government plans to introduce more commercial providers into general practice could destabilise existing services, depersonalise care and put some GP practices at risk of closure. The number of private firms winning contracts for GP practices is growing and, at the same time, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have been instructed by the government to set up new health centres, or polyclinics, that commercial providers can bid for. In many areas there has been little or no prior consultation on the need for these super surgeries, GPs claim.Dr McCarron-Nash hopes the Support Your Surgery campaign will inform the public about local plans. "I'm taking the petition to London on June 12 and I'd encourage people to come into the surgery to sign it," she told the Herald.Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "Although large health centres may work in some areas where patients and clinicians agree on a proven need, the government wishes to impose the polyclinic model on every PCT in the country regardless of need or demand. Private commercial companies would also be able to bid for the new centres, leading to fears that they will be more interested in their shareholders than patients. The government appears to be moving further away from the personalised care it claims to aspire to. Patients will find it more difficult to see the same GP each time and continuity of care could suffer.

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