Editorial: Mr Brown, now is the time to win over GPs

Six weeks ago GP publicly challenged prime minister Gordon Brown to make a statement Valuing General Practice and today we publish his response.

GP's Valuing General Practice campaign was backed by 285 GPs 3,980 patients, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and bodies including the RCGP, BMA, NHS Alliance, National Association of Primary Care, Dispensing Doctors Association and Medical Women's Federation.

Six weeks is a long time in politics and, since wheeling out his wife at the Labour conference in Manchester, Mr Brown has seen his stock rise as he drew on his Treasury experience to deal with the credit crunch.

Here at GP we would like to know what you think of the PM's statement. Email GPletters@haymarket.com.

Number 10 was keen to use the statement opportunity to latch on to anything positive and has done so successfully by endorsing the GP35 panel we launch today.

It is the formation of a panel of 35 GPs aged under 35 to give the younger generation of GPs a stronger voice in GP.

Number 10 is keen to follow the progress of the initiative, so who knows what might happen next?

Included in this week's GP are the results of the first survey of the panel, a letter from one of its members, a focus on the issues currently facing young GPs and a special report introducing you to four of the GP35.

Despite facing many challenges, one of the survey's positive results is that the majority of the panel would recommend a career in general practice to medical students.

Less heartening for Mr Brown is that his approval rating currently only merits a single digit, at 3 per cent.

With all eyes on a 2010 election, the PM's position as Labour leader cemented and Labour closing on the Conservatives in the polls, GP has this message for Number 10: Mr Brown, now is the time to win over GPs.

More opinion online

Read more opinion from the GP editorial team in the editor's blog at www.healthcarerepublic.com/blogs. This is what the team had to say this week

"Scots act to bar firms running practices: But Scotland's decision should, I think, prompt everyone in the UK connected with the NHS to reflect. Health ministers need to consider whether privatisation of healthcare in England is going too far."

"Patients to self-refer to physios: Of course, time is not on the side of the government and, given the dangerously misguided rush to build polyclinics, one wonders how long other PCTs will be given to implement similar vote-winning, self-referral schemes?"

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