Leeds super surgery plan: City GPs revolt

NHS services are being privatised, claim 100 Leeds GPs in a letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The doctors are angry at Government proposals to build a series of "super-surgeries" in key UK cities – claiming GP surgeries are being turned in to supermarkets.

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In Leeds, a huge medical multiplex is being planned in Burmantofts, potentially registering up to 50,000 patients.

The multi-million pound Polyclinic will house community health services such as GPs alongside care more associated with hospitals.

Private heathcare companies will be able to bid against existing surgeries for the contracts.

The Government hopes it will mean reducing pressure on hospitals and keeping healthcare "in the community".

But doctors say this would duplicate services already being provided and would put hundreds of surgery jobs at risk.

Dr Richard Vautrey, a leading Leeds GP and the Deputy Chairman of the British Medical Association's GP Committee, said any new super-surgery would operate in direct competition with existing practices and local NHS services were being treated "like supermarkets".

"It could destabilize existing practices by taking funding away from them.

"This would in turn put at risk the local personal service and continuity of care currently offered by GPs. We do not believe this is a good use of scarce NHS resources and we do not believe that the people of Leeds want to see the privatisation of general practice through large private companies running their GP surgeries."

Dr Vautrey said it would be better for patients and much better value for money for the taxpayer, for the Government to invest in existing practices so that they could further develop their services through collaboration with others.

Dr Vautrey said surgeries were being encouraged to compete with each other to bid for the super-surgery contract.

However Government heath chiefs have accused the GPs of stirring up unnecessary fear, saying: "The BMA are scaremongering.

"Better access to GPs is a priority for the public."

A petition has been started against the Government proposals.

* Visit: www.saveoursurgeries.co.uk or ask at your GP surgery.

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