GP says PM used NHS as 'political football'

GP and former Labour MP Dr Howard Stoate has hit out at the prime minister's 'entirely misleading' use of his comments to justify NHS reforms.

Dr Stoate: critical of David Cameron
Dr Stoate: critical of David Cameron

David Cameron quoted Dr Stoate during a House of Commons debate which saw him controversially tell a female MP to 'calm down, dear'.

Dr Stoate stood down at the 2010 election to focus on his work as a GP in Bexleyheath, Kent. He is now chairman of the local GP consortium, Bexley Clinical Cabinet.

Mr Cameron quoted Dr Stoate as saying: 'My discussions with fellow GPs reveal overwhelming enthusiasm for the chance to help shape services for the patients they see daily.' He told MPs: 'That is what Labour MPs, now acting as GPs, think of the reforms.'

Opposition leader Ed Miliband had criticised Mr Cameron for failing to heed doctors' concerns over NHS reform. The prime minister replied: 'Here is one doctor I am definitely going to listen to.'

But Dr Stoate later wrote in The Guardian that his comments had only reflected the enthusiasm among GPs in Bexley, who had been involved in commissioning for four years.

Dr Stoate wrote: 'The prime minister should stop using the health service as a political football and allow GPs to get on with the job of improving health services.'

But he added: 'It remains my view that GPs remain best placed to break down barriers to better working, and to ensure their patients get the highest standards of treatment.'

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