In a speech to the UK's family doctor conference today, GP chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said that unless Gordon Brown 'clears the obstacles out of the way', the government's flagship NHS policy of cutting patient waiting times to 18 weeks will fail.

In his speech to the local medical committee conference, Dr Meldrum said: 'All doctors want to see this become a reality for all patients. We want to see this work.

'But there is wreckage that could sink the ship - referral management centres that ration healthcare, choose and book that doesn't work, practice-based commissioning blocked at every turn, the junior doctor training fiasco, and, affecting everything, the grinding year-on-year cuts that prevent investing to improve.'