Health minister admits most patients will ignore choice agenda

The majority of patients will ignore the government's choice agenda and stay with the practice they are currently registered with, according to health minister Mike O'Brien.

Mike O'Brien believes most people will stay where they are if practice boundaries are scrapped

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday about scrapping practice boundaries, Mr O'Brien said: ‘Of course, given a choice most people will stay exactly where they are; I believe that is what most people will do. Only a limited number of people want to exercise choice in this regard and, yes, sometimes they are well, middle-class people who just want the choice. Why on earth should they not have it? If they want it, the NHS should be able to provide them with it.'

The health minister was responding to MP David Taylor (Labour, North-West Leicestershire) who described Labour's proposal to scrap practice boundaries as causing ‘a great deal of concern among GPs'.

He added: ‘Even those GPs who saw some benefits from that rather rushed reform... were quick to express to me their fear that abolishing GP practice boundaries could worsen the plight of those patients most vulnerable to serious long-term health problems.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Kamila Hawthorne

GP crisis could force one in four practices to close, says RCGP

Unmanageable pressure could force more than a quarter of GP practices to close, polling...

Child using smartphone

NICE backs digital CBT games for children with anxiety or low mood

GPs could prescribe CBT-based digital games, videos and quizzes for children and...

GP surgery sign

GP pressure to continue as experts warn NHS backlog will remain through 2023

General practice faces continuing heavy pressure after experts warned that the record...

Close-up of a man loading a shotgun

BMA updates GP firearms guidance as digital marker goes live on EMIS

The BMA has updated its guidance for GPs on firearms licensing following the release...

Map pins

Severely underdoctored areas spread across nearly every NHS region

Severely underdoctored areas exist in nearly every NHS region across England, figures...


NHS bosses apologise for lack of consultation on practice takeover amid patient protests

NHS leaders have apologised and admitted they should have consulted more after choosing...