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GPs fighting back over opening hours and pay

By Nigel Praities

Grassroots GPs are fighting back after weeks of negative headlines over their hours and pay with a concerted campaign to state their case to patients.

As GPs across the country cast their votes in the poll on the Government's contract offer, GPs in several areas have sprung into action, organising street protests, newspaper advertisements and educational materials for patients.

GPs in Somerset have clubbed together to organise full-page ‘Save Our NHS' advertisements in local newspapers, while a group of GPs in Warwickshire is organising a march in Rugby Town Centre to protest over Government plans for greater private provision in primary care.

Dr Harry Yoxall, a GP in Somerset and secretary of Somerset LMC, said the strength of feeling had taken him by surprise.

‘This is GPs reaching into their own pockets to fund advertisements in local papers. I don't think I have ever come across anything like this that has so united the profession. It is quite extraordinary, he said.

Dr Lesli Davies, a GP in Rugby and a member of Warwickshire LMC, said all twelve practices in the area were involved in the march. ‘We have never seen anything like it with all practices in our area in agreement. No-one else is going to tell our patients the truth if we don't do it,' she said.

The results of the GP poll are expected later this month, although a Pulse exit poll last week suggested the great majority would vote for option A, in the absence of any real alternative.

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