Doctors angry over surgery reform

DOCTORS and patients in Suffolk are today being urged to join a battle to save GP services.The British Medical Association (BMA) has organised the Support Your Surgery campaign to stop what it sees as threats to traditional GPs from new legislation.

DOCTORS and patients in Suffolk are today being urged to join a battle to save GP services.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has organised the Support Your Surgery campaign to stop what it sees as threats to traditional GPs from new legislation.

Bill Robinson, chief executive of the Suffolk Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs in the county, called on surgeries to display campaign posters and make their voices heard.

Mr Robinson said: “We are encouraging all GP practices to get involved in the campaign.

“We firmly believe some of the steps being taken in the health service will be bad for general practice.

“The government continues to look at how it can put out GP contracts to tender and the bigger private healthcare companies are very interested in running GP practices.

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“The BMA is generally concerned that people will see the erosion of the total service provided by a doctor that we know. GPs could go out of business.”

He added that there was also concern that family doctors could be replaced with large, impersonal centres, such as the polyclinic Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) is planning to build in Haverhill.

As well as GPs across Suffolk supporting the campaign, it is also hoped that patients will add their thoughts by signing petitions in the surgeries.

The result will then be presented to prime minister, Gordon Brown, on June 12.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee said: “Private commercial companies would be able to bid for the new centres leading to fears that they will be more interested in their shareholders than patients.

“The government appears to be moving further away from the personalised care it claims to aspire to. Patients will find it more difficult to see the same GP each time and continuity of care could suffer."

Are you worried that traditional GP services are under threat? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.