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Independents' Day

60 second interview with...Dr Stewart Drage

Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs and GPC negotiator

Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs and GPC negotiator

How do you juggle your negotiator and LMC roles?

I'm trained to juggle, that's my job. It's what GPs do – juggle priorities.

What's the big issue facing Londonwide LMCs?

The most pressing issues in London at the moment relate to the Darzi London review, and the implications of contractual change.

What work are you doing on the Healthcare for London review?

This is high-priority stuff. It's really important that NHS London hear the voice of London's GPs, and we in that will be expressing our concerns about the process.

More than 2,000 GPs and patients have signed a petition against the controversial polyclinics. Will you add your name?

Our role, I think, is much more to do with service provision and the future of general practice than getting into the broader politics of an idea. Our priority is making what needs to work, work – where it's possible. And working towards other solutions where we feel it's appropriate.

What worries you about the private sector's role in general practice?

The NHS marketplace has become increasingly commercialised, and the commercial culture is now driving all sorts of decisions.

What worries us about that is all the things that worry the public. Anything the commercial sector is involved in, you see stories about – backhanders, underhand behaviour, lack of due process and nepotism.

How have London GPs reacted to the extended hours dispute?

So far it's a mixed mood. Anger at being bullied, frustration at being unable to do much about it at this time, fear for the future, insecurity – and a recognition that, were they to be adequately resourced, most practices would be providing extended hours in some form.

Hasn't the polyclinic model been tried in the past?

There are versions of the polyclinic model that we have promoted ourselves in the past and that LMCs have tried to create through collaborative working amongst practices - things that PCTs and their predecessors have actually starved of resources despite agreeing with the idea.

If you were Health Secretary for a day, what would be your first act?

I would remove the middle tier of management from the NHS and I would let organisations get on with doing a proper job of looking after patients.

What do you do when you're not working?

I like fresh air, and I like football. I'm a long-suffering Spurs supporter. And I recently did a parachute jump for charity.

What car do you drive?

I drive a G-Wiz, an electric vehicle – no congestion charge!

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