DARZAI MUST RESIGN! – says the GPs conference!

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BMA GPs committee member BETH McCARRON-NASH, GPs committee chairman Dr LAURENCE BUCKMAN, GPs committee member Dr PRIT BUTTAR, and BMA Patient Liason Group member NATALIE TEICH before handing in a 1,236,085-signature petition to Downing Street
BMA GPs committee member BETH McCARRON-NASH, GPs committee chairman Dr LAURENCE BUCKMAN, GPs committee member Dr PRIT BUTTAR, and BMA Patient Liason Group member NATALIE TEICH before handing in a 1,236,085-signature petition to Downing Street

FAMILY doctors yesterday expressed their furious opposition to privately-run polyclinics and voted to take ‘unprecedented action’ in response to ‘unprecedented political threats to general practice’.

GPs voted unanimously for Motion 32 at the British Medical Association (BMA) Local Medical Committees (LMCs) annual conference in central London, which supported the BMA’s ‘Support your Surgery’ campaign

In a combined debate, the over 400 delegates called for health minister Darzi to resign, voting no confidence in him as health minister, his review of general practice and no confidence in his ‘ability to carry out a review of the NHS that is independent of political control and free of a predetermined outcome’.

BMA GPs Committee Chairman Dr Laurence Buckman was applauded throughout his keynote speech attacking the ‘commercialisation of the NHS’.

He slammed PFI and polyclinics, warning: ‘The dumbing down of general practice will spell the end of the generalist who can offer holistic care.

‘It will see the rise of clinics further away from the patients they serve and providing much less of the personal care and commitment they value.’

Buckman received a standing ovation when he announced: ‘At 2 o’clock today I will be proud to knock on the door of Number 10 and hand in a petition signed by 1,236,085 people in England.

‘It will deliver a stark message to the Prime Minister that the public petitions to him continue to support our existing NHS GP surgeries and improve services to patients by further investment in them.’

He stressed: ‘Voters don’t want funding to move from GP practices to commercial companies who are accountable primarily to shareholders rather than patients.

‘They want to be treated as patients, not customers.’

Buckman received another, longer standing ovation when he concluded: ‘So, what’s it going to be government: peace and construction, or a never-ending fight to protect the NHS? I’m game for either.’

Moving Motion 32, Dr Kailash Chand, West Pennine LMC, said: ‘This government is morally bankrupt and stone deaf.

‘Our campaign must continue. The public must know.’

Warning against government ‘reforms’ plans, he added: ‘If we ignore this, we are sleepwalking into the destruction of the NHS by marketisation, privatisation and commercialisation.’

Opposing polyclinics, he stressed: ‘As GPs we have to defend the NHS.’

Advising conference, Dr Buckman said: ‘You could misunderstand unprecedented action, but I oppose a reference back.

‘We are already taking unprecedented action. It depends on what the government does – being nice to us would be unprecedented.’

Earlier, GPs voted unanimously for Motion 10 which underlined that ‘the vast majority of patients want and need’ care provided by ‘permanent, properly-trained GPs’.

It warned ‘this form of care is being undermined’ by government encouragement of direct commercial competition.

GPs also voted unanimously ‘no confidence in the UK government’s stewardship of the NHS’ and overwhelmingly for a rider ‘no confidence in the secretary of state for health’.

Buckman intervened to oppose the rider, ‘saying we don’t do personal’ but mover Dr Eric Rose of Buckinghamshire LMC replied: ‘When someone bullies me – that’s personal.

‘When someone bankrupts a practice I’ve built up over 40 years – that’s personal!’