Health minister admits most patients will ignore choice agenda

The majority of patients will ignore the government's choice agenda and stay with the practice they are currently registered with, according to health minister Mike O'Brien.

Mike O'Brien believes most people will stay where they are if practice boundaries are scrapped
Mike O'Brien believes most people will stay where they are if practice boundaries are scrapped

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday about scrapping practice boundaries, Mr O'Brien said: ‘Of course, given a choice most people will stay exactly where they are; I believe that is what most people will do. Only a limited number of people want to exercise choice in this regard and, yes, sometimes they are well, middle-class people who just want the choice. Why on earth should they not have it? If they want it, the NHS should be able to provide them with it.'

The health minister was responding to MP David Taylor (Labour, North-West Leicestershire) who described Labour's proposal to scrap practice boundaries as causing ‘a great deal of concern among GPs'.

He added: ‘Even those GPs who saw some benefits from that rather rushed reform... were quick to express to me their fear that abolishing GP practice boundaries could worsen the plight of those patients most vulnerable to serious long-term health problems.'

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