GPs need to cool down over seven-day NHS plans, says health minister

Health minister Alistair Burt has called for doctors to 'lower the temperature' of disputes with government over seven-day NHS services.

Primary care minister Alistair Burt: high temperature of seven-day NHS debate unhelpful (Photo: Wilde Fry)
Primary care minister Alistair Burt: high temperature of seven-day NHS debate unhelpful (Photo: Wilde Fry)

Speaking at an RCGP fringe meeting at Conservative party conference in Manchester, primary care minister Alistair Burt rejected the idea that the government had been demonising junior doctors and GPs. ‘I know of no Conservative politician who would demonise a doctor,' he said.

Mr Burt said confrontations had had been ‘blown up’ to grab headlines. ‘There are ill judged words, because a press release isn't a press release unless you've said something like, "war has been declared on the doctors by the government",' the minister said.

‘It may please a membership organisation, but it doesn't do very much to improve the atmosphere of negotiation or discussion,' he added.

Mr Burt said he made sure no one in his control in the department was briefing against doctors. ‘I expect in return that the professions and others I deal with do everything they can to lower the temperature as well,' he added.

‘We need to change attitudes. I'm not a confrontational individual. I don't do that. I don't expect to deal with people who do it, either’, said Mr Burt.

‘We're not going to get the sort of NHS we want if people decide to have pitched battles with the government or if they think  the government is having pitched battles with them.’

The minister added: ‘This is an area where we are truly in it together, and I will do everything in my power to try and display that from my position.’

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