Polyclinics 'will not close surgeries', pledges Alan Johnson

No current GP practices will be closed because of polyclinics, health secretary Alan Johnson has vowed.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

Writing in The Observer, Mr Johnson accused the BMA of scaremongering and peddling ‘untruths' in its campaign against polyclinics.

The health secretary insisted plans to create 150 GP-led health centres across England had been the subject of ‘gross misrepresentation' by the BMA and the Conservatives.

Mr Johnson wrote: ‘The Tories are claiming that our plans mean the closure of 1,700 surgeries. There is nothing further from the truth and it is extremely disappointing that the BMA would speak in equally lurid and inaccurate terms.

‘No current GP practices will be closed, as the new services will be in addition to existing ones and come with extra money.'

Mr Johnson did not tackle the King's Fund's recent report highlighting the lack of evidence for polyclinics. He wrote that GPs' concerns were mostly about losing their patients.

‘Controversy may well be caused by some GPs who fear greater choice for patients, worried that they themselves will lose out. But we have made clear that they are not going to lose funding in this process,' he wrote.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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