A week ago, Audlem Online ran an important story sent to us by Audlem Medical Practice. The Practice wrote: "The Government's plans to change the way in which GP services are provided will put at risk the comprehensive, high-quality patient care that your local surgery provides.
"Most NHS GP Practices are independently run by local GPs on behalf of their patients. However, the Government is now encouraging commercial companies to run GP surgeries. These companies are accountable firstly to shareholders not patients. Commercial companies are likely to be offered short-term contracts. This could lead to a higher turnover of doctors who may not know you and your long-term health needs. This is bad for patients.
"The Government plans to introduce up to 250 large new health centres – often called polyclinics – across England instead of funding extra services in local surgeries. Polyclinics are very expensive to develop and run and there is no evidence they are needed in many areas. These health centres may contain up to 25 GPs, and we are worried that patients may lose the personal relationship they usually have with their current family doctor.
"As a result of these changes we are concerned that many local surgeries may not survive. We believe NHS funds would be better spent on expanding the high quality services at your own local GP Surgery. Why are we so worried?
We want you to be treated by GPs who see you as patients, not customers.
We want the Government to:
"Support your local surgery by signing the NHS General Practice 60th Birthday card petition."
We understand the petition needs to be signed this week so do pop into the surgery if you wish to sign. In addition, Audlem Online is now running a new Vote Poll asking: "Do you think it's important for Audlem to retain its own GP practice?" There will be an associated Forum so you can have your say on this important local service.
Local MP Stephen O'Brien is holding his surgery in Audlem on Friday from 4.30pm. It may well be worth raising the issue with him. We understand Audlem Parish Council is also to discuss the issue at its next meeting in June. Indeed the Chronicle has been photographing Parish Council Chairman Richard Furber and others this week signing the petition.
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