GPs can make clear they will pull plug on Labour

As a profession, we must start explaining to the government, and individual Labour MPs, the consequence of their policies towards general practice at the next election ('DoH plans threaten every UK practice', GP, 2 May).

In a partnership serving a deprived population, I discover that the majority of us have voted Labour in previous elections. In light of current policies however, not one of us intends to do so next time.

More than that, I am personally aware of no GPs who now plan to support Labour.

The loss of these votes may not by themselves cause Labour politicians too many sleepless nights. However, given that what we are seeing here is a threat to the future of high-quality, personal and family-based healthcare, and with it the continuity so vital for that quality, I believe our patients will be harmed, particularly those in poorer areas.

Given this, I feel we have a right - indeed a duty - to discuss with our patients the likely outcomes of government reforms. We can remain within the GMC guidance that 'you must not normally discuss your personal beliefs with patients unless those beliefs are directly relevant to the patient's care', while also bearing in mind that 'you must not impose your beliefs on patients'.

Now the collapse of GP support for the Labour Party becomes much more significant. If nearly every GP is discussing with all their patients the disastrous consequences to their families' healthcare of continuing with a Labour government, then possibly even the majority of the electorate will become aware of the issues.

Despite the government's constant attempts to undermine us with spin, misinformation, and planted stories, GPs are still held in high regard by most patients.

I believe our withdrawal of support, and dispassionate counselling of patients, would make the next election completely unwinnable for Labour. If they see sense and stop trying to destroy general practice our support may return.

After the disastrous showing at the recent local elections, I think this message may be a very powerful tool to influence thinking within the Labour Party. We must try to get this message across to them.

Name and address withheld.

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