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Minister defends closed doors talks on polysystems

By Ian Quinn

Health minister Mike O'Brien has defended the decision to hold the talks on shifting hospital workload to GP polysystems in secret.

He told MPs it was necessary not to reveal details of discussions to prevent the clinicians involved from withdrawing from the process.

Mr O'Brien, speaking a week after shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley vowed his party would scrap the proposals because of a lack of resources in primary care, claimed leading clinicians regarded the policy as a huge opportunity for the NHS.

‘We have tried to give clinicians a space where they can debate some of these issues and discuss what is best for London,' he told the commons. ‘ They do not want to engage in public controversy.

‘If every time they have a discussion and put something on paper, or there is a minute of a meeting or a report, it has to be put out in the public arena, so that Liberal Democrat MPs can attack them over their lack of evidence and so on, they will withdraw from engaging in the discussion.'

Health minister Mike O'Brien