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Call for 100 obesity points

Tony Blair wants a crackdown on closed and 'full' lists as

a centrepiece of third-term NHS reforms which will give even more power to patients.

Senior officials told Pulse the Prime Minister and election supremo Alan Milburn were 'obsessing' about how to give patients greater choice over which surgery they attend.

Plans to stop GPs turning away patients who are already registered with a nearby practice are among those being considered for a public service Reform Act aimed at enshrining the 'choice' agenda.

Health Secretary John Reid also wants to extend the recently-announced policy of allowing 'unpopular' hospitals to close to GP practices.

Officials conceded the shortage of GPs and growing numbers of under-doctored areas were the key barriers to giving patients greater choice.

But they said Mr Blair, Mr Milburn and Mr Reid this week asked advisers to produce manifesto proposals that will increase capacity and give patients the ability to shop around from a choice of primary care providers.

The senior official said: 'We recognise that there are bottlenecks in the system and we want to address that.'

GPC negotiators said the Government could not stop GPs closing their list.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said there were few 'unpopular' practices in the firing line because GPs were popular with their patients.

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