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The News Line: News GPs reject privatisation AT THE BMA Local Medical Committees (England) conference yesterday, GPs voted against a proposal to allow privatised GP services in England.


The motion stated: ‘Given that a number of GPs feel they can no longer operate within the NHS, conference calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model.’

The motion was defeated in a straight vote on a show of hands, with conference chair Guy Watkins declaring the motion ‘is clearly lost’. Proposing the motion, Dr Christiane Harris from Bedfordshire LMC said GPs feel like they are on a ‘hamster wheel’ every day.

He claimed: ‘All this motion is asking is for GPC to support practices who want to explore a future outside the NHS.’ But Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, urged delegates to ‘please’ not vote the motion through. She said: ‘The solution is not to throw the towel in and vote for private practice.’ She warned that it would be a ‘betrayal’ against the ‘principles of the NHS’, and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy ‘can afford the NHS’.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, said the motion did not call on practices in general to start charging for services, just that BMA should support practices who choose to make this move. However, he added: ‘I must ask conference in view of the message … that this will send out, that you vote against this motion.’
 
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