The threat to NHS General Practice has not gone away!
A huge thank you to all who showed support for NHS general practice and the 1.3 million people who signed the BMA's Support Your Surgery petition.
The petition was presented to the Prime Minister in June 2008, and created an impact on both the Government, and the national and local media. However, the threat to NHS general practice has not gone away and more needs to be done to change Government plans.
What is the threat to NHS General Practice?
The Government plans to introduce large GP-led health centres across England and polyclinics in London, often without proper consultation, instead of funding extra services in local surgeries. These health centres and polyclinics will be very expensive to develop and run, and there is no evidence that they are needed in many areas where good quality GP surgeries already exist.
Most NHS GP surgeries are independently run by local GPs on behalf of their patients. Many want to expand their services, often working with neighbouring practices, but the Government won't allow the money being spent on new health centres and polyclinics to be used to fund new or better services in existing practices.
Instead the Government is encouraging commercial companies to run the new health centres/polyclinics. There are two main problems with this. The first is that the Government is likely to offer commercial companies only short-term contracts. This would mean that the company running the health centre could change every few years which could lead to a higher turnover of doctors and nurses. This would make it harder for doctors to know you and your longterm health needs and you may lose the types of personal relationships you currently have at your local surgery. This will particularly affect those patients with complex health needs, the elderly, long-term sick and the vulnerable.
The second problem is that commercial companies will usually be accountable to shareholders, not to local patients.
What does this mean for you?
The proposals to open these new large health centres and polyclinics could have a damaging effect on your local surgery, putting at risk:
- The types of services you receive
- Continuity of care - you may lose the personal relationship you have with your current GP
- Convenience - you may have to travel longer distances to the new health centres and polyclinics
Your views are important and can make a difference - Act Now
If you don't want these changes to NHS general practice then voice your concerns. Contact your local:
Why are we so worried?
We want you to be treated by GPs who see you as patients, not customers.
We want the Government to:
- Improve services to patients by further investment in existing GP surgeries and not waste money on unwanted polyclinics
- Halt its plans to encourage commercial companies to run GP surgeries
To download translations of the 'Support NHS General Practice' patient leaflet click here