GPs lead angry defence of London's NHS services

Doctors and patients were urged to take action against NHS London's plans to dramatically reshape healthcare across the capital at an impassioned open meeting at BMA House last week.

Because of a £5 billion funding shortfall, NHS London plans to close a third of London's hospital beds, move 55 per cent of hospital work into 'polysystems' and close 13 district hospitals.

John Lister, of campaigning group London Health Emergency, described the plans as 'cranky, weird proposals that will not stand up to scrutiny'.

A third of A&E wards are at risk of closure, the meeting heard, while investment in 102 polyclinics is still going ahead.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the proposals will 'turn a crisis into a disaster for some patients' and condemned plans to replace hospitals with polyclinics and polysystems.

'I am not doing community neurosurgery. GPs cannot replace hospitals,' he said.

Dr Kambiz Boomla, a GP in Tower Hamlets and chairman of City and East London LMC, said the shift of hospital services into the community would be realised as multi-million pound contracts for private providers.

'These will be multi-million pound competitive tenders - the average GP practice will not be able to manage the risk,' Dr Boomla said.

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