‘IGNORE at your peril the wishes of the most important people in the NHS – the patients,’ British Medical Association (BMA) GPs Committee chairman Dr Laurence Buckman is warning prime minister Brown today.
In his keynote speech to the BMA Local Medical Committees (LMCs) GPs’ conference this morning, Dr Buckman will say: ‘If the government won’t listen to you, their doctors, then surely it will listen to the 1.2 million men and women who call for a halt to the plans to promote the use of commercial companies in general practice.
‘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.
‘My message to Gordon Brown is this: “Whatever you think of GPs, take note of what your electorate thinks.
‘ “Work with us to improve the service, not against us, and ignore at your peril the wishes of the most important people in the NHS – the patients”.’
At 2pm today Dr Buckman will lead a deputation to 10 Downing Street where he will hand over the ‘Support Your Surgery’ petition within a giant birthday card celebrating the NHS at 60.
At least 1,196,000 signatures had been counted by yesterday evening and Dr Buckman will provide a final figure when he gives his speech at the LMCs Conference being held at the Institute of Education, central London.
The planned new privately run polyclinics are likely to be run under APMS (Alternative Provider Medical Services) contracts, which are the contracts that allow commercial firms to come into primary care.
They are typically being offered for five years.
The wording of the patients’ petition is as follows:
‘In the 60th year of the NHS, we the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to:
‘Continue to support our existing NHS GP surgeries.
‘Improve services to patients by further investment in existing GP surgeries.
‘We also urge the government to halt its plans to promote the use of commercial companies in general practice because this risks destabilising our local surgeries and threatens the comprehensive, high quality care we receive from our GPs.
‘We don’t want public funding to move from GP practices to commercial companies who are accountable primarily to shareholders rather than patients.
‘Also we want to be treated by GPs who see us as patients, not as customers.’