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GP accuses Cameron of ‘misleading’ comments

By Amy Fallon

GP and former Labour MP Dr Howard Stoate has accused the Prime Minister of quoting him 'out of context' to defend the Government's health reforms in a parliamentary debate.

Last month Prime minister David Cameron quoted Dr Stoate in a heated parliamentary debate as seeing 'overwhelming enthusiasm' amongst GPs for the Government' health reforms, saying:

'That is what Labour MPs, now acting as GPs, think of the reforms. That is what is happening.'

But Dr Stoate has hit back, saying the use of his words was 'entirely misleading'. Dr Stoate is chair of the Bexley Clinical Cabinet consortium and was the only practising GP in the last parliament.

Dr Stoate admitted that he had earlier this year said that many GPs were happy about the opportunity to help shape services for patients. But in an article in The Guardian, he insists he was then referring to GPs in his own south London borough of Bexley. Dr Stoate said he had qualified this by saying GPs in the borough had a head start, building on their experience of commissioning over the last four years.

'Taken out of context, and interspersed with condescending comments to backbench MPs, Cameron's quote is entirely misleading,' he wrote.

'However, it remains my view and my experience that GPs remain best placed to break down barriers to better working, and to ensure their patients get the highest standards of treatment.'

A heated exchange took place in Parliament last month when Mr Cameron began to point out that Dr Stoate, who supported the health reforms, was defeated at the last election by the Conservatives. Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle interrupted, insisting that the prime minister had his facts wrongs as Mr Stoate had resigned before the election. This prompted Mr Cameron to tell her 'Calm down, dear'.

Dr Howard Stoate