Our independent patient-interest social enterprise has consultated on the complex issue of GPs and polyclinics. The British Medical Association's campaign to persuade patients to oppose them is ill-judged and muddled, writes Elizabeth Manero
Our consultation with under-represented groups, commissioned by the London primary care trusts, found much interest in the model with strong reservations about effects on individual patients. Local circumstances are hugely variable so proper inclusive local decision making is important, as well as a legal requirement.
Health professionals including GPs should ensure that process is in place, not dictate its outcome.
The BMA's wisdom in alarming patients who may be already stressed by illness and highly dependent on their GP practice is questionable. Yoking the issues of private sector involvement in primary care provision with the polyclinics model is spurious. That is a different debate.
The BMA should encourage its members to ask their patients and communities what they think and respond to what they hear. This would be more appropriate to a patient centred NHS and a better use of taxpayers' money than cobbling together unrelated issues in support of a 60-year-old model which may or may not still be the right one - that is up to patients and the public to decide.
Elizabeth Manero, director, Healthlink