Plans for private companies such as UnitedHealth to take over inner city GP practices under APMS contracts have often met with local resistance.
And more than 1.2 million people have signed a BMA petition objecting to the use of commercial companies in general practice.
But a survey, conducted by YouGov for the CBI, found that 48 per cent of people would support privately run GP practices, provided they remained free at the point of use. Only 33 per cent objected.
Neil Bentley, the CBI public services director, said the figures showed the BMA's 'Support Your Surgery' campaign had 'failed to convince the public '.
The figures came as a BMA survey found that 51 per cent of patients opposed policies which encouraged commercial companies to provide NHS care.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA council, warned that the policy was 'fuelling patients' concerns that the NHS will begin to charge for some care in the future'.
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