As the health bill is debated in Parliament today, a new survey reveals substantial GP opposition to the legislation.
Unite and the MPU started the petition demanding that the Health and Social Care Bill is withdrawn in July, and they currently have 505 GP signatures.
President of MPU, Dr Ron Singer, says that the number of signatories contradicts David Cameron’s assertion last month that following the changes made to the bill after the ‘listening exercise’, the ‘whole health profession‘ now supported it.
Dr Singer said: ‘Our survey nails the ministerial canard that because GPs have signed up to clinical commissioning groups they are supportive of the bill. This is clearly not the case.’
‘The reason that GPs have signed up to the groups is to ensure that they have the necessary resources to treat their patients, but does not signify support for the proposed reorganisation of the NHS.’
UNITE is also concerned that amendments are being pushed through parliament, despite facing strong opposition from Liberal Democrats.
Dr Singer added: ‘At what is a critical week for the future of the NHS as we know it – a substantial number of commissioning GPs have expressed their anger at the direction of government policy, which, we believe, will herald the large-scale privatisation of the health service.’
In response to the petition, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Claims that we aim to privatise the NHS amount to nothing more than ludicrous scaremongering. We have made it crystal clear, time and again, that we will never, ever, privatise the NHS.’
‘The reality is that we’re giving more power and choice to patients over how they get treated, keeping waiting times low and cutting bureaucracy so more cash gets to the front line. We will not allow these lies to block the progress we want to achieve for patients.’