Don't mess with GP services - Worcester Standard
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I was in Downing Street last week with a group of Worcestershire GPs handing in a petition protesting about government plans to undermine their service.

. Ministers are telling local NHS managers that they must set up new competing surgeries run by private companies.

I could think of so many better ways to spend the money.

Although the UK is now spending more than the EU average on health, our NHS still faces real problems. For example, average hospital waiting times are rising while countries such as France or Germany have no waiting lists at all.

The problem is that politicians keep on coming up with new ideas, reorganisations and targets that sideline the judgement of medical staff. Perhaps the most alarming statistic about our health service is that NHS managers are increasing at three times the rate of medical staff.

The latest whizzy idea that that has provoked the fury of the county's GPs, is perhaps the most unexpected in recent years - the privatisation of part our NHS to attack the role of the family doctor. And it's no back door privatisation - it's a front door one!

Yes, the private sector has role to play in helping the NHS - but not to attack a part of it that is working well and which people value. I'm not saying that everything is perfect about general practice - but most of the problems, like the dramatic changes to out-of-hours care, were the result of government interference with surgeries.

No wonder so many county people put their names to the petition in support of one of the very best things about our NHS - the family doctors in surgeries large and small who are the front line in our battle to build a healthier nation - that's why it's called primary care!


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