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A faulty production line

Tories and Lib Dems back Pulse's Save Our Surgeries campaign

By Steve Nowottny

Polyclinics must not be imposed on communities against the wishes of local GPs and patients, Tory leader David Cameron said this week.

In a speech to the King's Fund mapping out his vision for general practice, he claimed polyclinics would force hundreds of GP surgeries to close.

His speech came as the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats threw their weight behind Pulse's Save Our Surgeries campaign. ‘Gordon Brown is attempting what Nye Bevan never managed to do – make GPs salaried employees of the state and abolish small practices in favour of large multipurpose centres,' said Mr Cameron.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘I am glad Pulse is highlighting the deep concern of GPs across the country that the family doctor service is being undermined. We will oppose plans to force doctors into polyclinics against their will.'

The Tories claim polyclinics threaten the closure of one in five practices across England, including more than 1,000 in London and hundreds more outside the capital.

Their figures assume each PCT will introduce a full-blown 25-GP polyclinic, rather than the smaller centres planned in many areas, and so represent a worse-case scenario. But fears of closures are nevertheless growing among GPs.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb cal-led for an end to plans being centrally imposed.

‘I fully support Pulse's campaign. It is outrageous that the Government is imposing a "one size fits all" model across the country,' he said.

‘The Government is not being honest. On the one hand it is holding a consultation on the future of NHS services, and on the other it has already asked all PCTs to open at least one polyclinic in the near future.'

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats join the BMA, the Family Doctor Association and patient groups such as the Patients Association in supporting our campaign.

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