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At the heart of general practice since 1960

BMA and patients' group back Save Our Surgeries campaign

By Steve Nowottny

The BMA and the Patients Association have both lined up to support Pulse's Save Our Surgeries campaign, as pressure mounts on the Government to rethink its polyclinic plans.

The pledges of support from the official doctor and patient bodies are a major boost to the campaign, which has already secured the support of the Family Doctor Association and LMCs.

In an official statement, the BMA, which represents 32,000 GPs, said: ‘Despite comments from Lord Darzi that it will not be compulsory for PCTs to provide polyclinics and new health centres, we know chief executives feel they must open them. The BMA is working to defend general practice against being handed over to the private sector, which would harm patient continuity of care.

‘We support the aims of the Pulse campaign to ensure polyclinics will not be imposed on local communities, that existing practices will not be destabilised and that there will be full consultation on any proposed plans.'

Michael Summers, vice-chair of the Patients Association, said: ‘Polyclinics are something we don't want to be imposed on us. Patients are very happy at having a good relationship with their GP and continuity of care is paramount. There should be major consultation at a local level before significant changes of this kind are made.'

Increasing numbers of GPs are using the campaign materials, with more than 100 posters, 70 patient petitions and 67 patient surveys downloaded so far.

GPs can send in pictures of their protests via the ‘submit a picture' tool on the home page.

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