Exclusive: Health minister rubbishes BMA campaign

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has criticised the BMA’s Support Your Surgery campaign as ‘bizarre and inexplicable’.

Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw

Speaking exclusively to GP from a GP-led health centre in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, near Nottingham, this week, he said: ‘The BMA material is bizarre and inexplicable to me. There are no plans for more GP-led health centres and where decisions are led by local doctors and nurses they are generally very popular as you can see here.

‘The irony of the BMA campaign is that we are on the threshold of what will be a very exciting future for primary care.'

Mr Bradshaw said GPs may be ‘miffed' about extended hours.

He described last week's King's Fund report, which raised fears polyclinics could worsen access, increase cost and damage care, as ‘very fair'.

He added: ‘Bigger health centres can work in certain areas but not others. We are not imposing any anywhere.'

This week has already seen relations between the BMA and government reach a new low.

The Times reported health secretary Alan Johnson saying doctors' leaders who oppose the creation of super-surgeries were echoing their predecessors who likened the establishment of the NHS to Nazi Germany.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey described the comments as ‘extraordinary'. ‘Patients will judge that sort of statement for themselves,' he said.

The Conservatives also claimed this week that it would cost the government £1.4 billion if no practices were closed to transfer them into polyclinics.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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