Bradshaw accuses GPs of 'gentlemen's agreements' to block choice

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has again attacked GPs, blaming the profession for health inequalities and accusing them of not taking on patients.

Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw

The comments are the latest in a series of attacks on the profession by the DoH following the BMA's high-profile campaign against polyclinics.

On Tuesday Mr Bradshaw wrote that GPs were pocketing profits rather than investing in more staff.

The health minister was responding to a Parliamentary question from Labour MP Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak) on why existing GP practices could not be expanded instead of building GP-led health centres across England.

He wrote: ‘Existing GP practices have seen an increase in investment in their practices of over 50 per cent since 2003/4 and could have invested more of these resources into increasing available GPs and nurses to local patients but have chosen not to.

‘That continues to be one of the reasons why, since the inception of the NHS, there has been a continuing disparity in the numbers of primary care clinicians.'

In a BBC interview yesterday, Mr Bradshaw also accused GPs of agreeing not to take on patients from other practices and using MPIG to survive with very few patients.

He told the BBC news website: ‘There is no doubt there are some areas where gentlemen's agreements operate that mitigate against lists being open to new patients and therefore work against real patient choice.'

He said the MPIG ‘dampened the incentive' to attract new patients and meant some doctors were able to survive with very few patients.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman described the comments as ‘absolute nonsense'.

Hansard: Publications and Records

Blog: Can we have a ‘gentlemen's agreement' on MPIG please?

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