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At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Be protectionist' to battle private firms

GPs in the North-East have argued that practices need to be 'protectionist' to fend away the threat from private firms.

The claims came in response to a discussion paper from

Newcastle and North Tyneside LMC on the future of general practice.

The document, 'Shape or Be Shaped', written by LMC chair Dr George Rae, said GPs had to act quickly to safeguard their role by setting up APMS companies and taking part in practice-based commissioning.

Dr Roger Ford, secretary of Sunderland LMC, responded that GPs had to ensure they had a say over the quality, governance and provision of local services. He said: 'We needn't be ashamed of protectionism.

'We are already experiencing the private sector sniffing around vigorously and not just the struggling practices.'

Dr Ken Megson, secretary of Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC, warned enhanced services deals could soon be 'picked off' by private providers as many contracts were only for two years.

Loss of these would ser-

iously dent practice incomes, he said.

Dr Clare Rowntree, chair of Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC, said GPs had to be wary of presenting a transparently selfish public image.

She said: 'To sell this we are going to have to be very careful not to look like we have a protectionist policy.'

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