Following the 1.2 million-signature petition supporting existing surgeries, a follow-up campaign aiming to keep the momentum is set to be launched in the next few weeks.
GPC member Dr Prit Buttar said the campaign would aim to get local government overview and scrutinee committees to question PCTs’ polyclinic plans.
‘This is a great opportunity for local government overview and scrutinee committees to get involved and ask how this is value for money.
‘It is now firmly in the public conscience that this will be a threat. The public aren’t stupid, they know funding is limited.’
Dr Buttar said the cost of performance-related pay in hospitals and GP-led health centres could put PCTs’ finances in trouble again.
‘PCTs will face financial shortfalls as payment by performance in hospitals takes off and they have to run GP-led health centres – this will end up costing £3 million more.’
Newly elected GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash is the communications lead for the campaign. She said it would try to get GPs and patients to challenge decisions locally.
‘It was my mandate when I got elected – it is something I feel very strongly about.
‘We are trying to encourage GPs and patients to get involved with local decisions – has there been a consultation, have they been asked?’
‘We know in many cases the decisions have been made but it does not mean they cannot be influenced,’ she said.
Dr Buttar said more details would be released in the coming weeks, but hoped that the campaign could retain ‘an element of surprise’, like the recent petition.
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said ‘phase two’ of the campaign was ‘imminent’.
‘We are finalising mechanisms and funding at the moment. We are interested in getting patients to influence local governors about the siting of polyclinics and walk-in centres.’
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