On Friday I was presented with an 8,000 name petition by local patients anxious to be able to keep their doctors’ surgery and not wanting the Government’s polyclinics, or local surgeries to be taken over by international companies. The petition was handed over at Nevells Road Surgery by Dr Peter Graves, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Local Medical Committee Limited and it was good to be able to meet local doctors, including Dr Smallwood and his Partners and in particular Dr Mel Lacy, who was the first local doctor to raise these issues with me.
When I was a Conservative Health Spokesman, I remember visiting Berlin and being told how pleased East Germans were when the polyclinics of the Communist era were abolished after reunification. There are a few polyclinics left in major cities, but most East German patients preferred a more personalised service. I am surprised and saddened that the Government is considering the idea of building its health policy on this outmoded idea. There may be a case for polyclinics in some large cities but it is clearly not popular in our area. Across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire over 92,000 patients have now signed the petition against the Government’s plans.