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GPs blocking patient choice, claims minister

GPs have 'gentlemen's agreement' over patient lists, says Labour MP

OnMedica Staff

Thursday, 03 July 2008

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has accused GPs of operating "gentlemen's agreements" whereby they promise not to accept other doctors' patients.

In an interview with the BBC Mr Bradshaw accused doctors in some areas of blocking patient choice.

"There is no doubt there are some areas where gentlemen's agreements operate that mitigate against lists being open to new patients and therefore work against real patient choice," he said.

Mr Bradshaw made the comments ahead of publication of the government's primary and community care strategy on Thursday.

The strategy, which builds on the Darzi review published on Monday, is expected to set out a vision for a more personalised GP service.

It will call for more use of e-mail and telephone GP consultations and closer links between practices and a raft of community services such as smoking cessation and exercise classes.

Doctors' leaders have dismissed the Minister's comments.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "It is absolute nonsense to suggest there are gentlemen's agreements - it just doesn't happen.

"Nor are we going to compete for patients, that is not the way general practice works."


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