Tories oppose polyclinics and back traditional patient-doctor care

The Conservatives are committed to protecting a traditional patient-doctor relationship, according to shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien said that small practices were being underestimated
Mr O'Brien said that small practices were being underestimated

New models of care such as polyclinics are not appropriate for elderly patients with long-term-conditions and the value of small practices should not be underestimated, Mr O'Brien told a King's Fund policy debate in London last week.

IPSOS Mori health research director Jonathon Nicholls told the debate that Conservative leader David Cameron had done a ‘sterling job' of improving the party's image around the NHS.  

‘Labour are still 15% ahead when people are polled on who is best to run the NHS. But in historic terms, that is a very positive story for the Tories,' he said.

But latest polls point to a hung parliament, and voters are less likely to base their decision on health policies, as economic worries take over as the public's number one concern, said Mr Nicholls.

IPSOS Mori's February poll reveals the Conservative lead has dropped to just 5%, mainly due to an increase in Lib-Dem popularity.  

‘This has taken us very much into hung parliament territory,' said Mr Nicholls.

‘Health policy is not something people are focusing on like in 1997. One of the reasons is that we have higher satisfaction with local services than we have had for a long time.'

Mr O'Brien did not announce any further detail on Conservative policy at the event, but he did reiterate the party's opposition to polyclinics.

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