Council backs controversial health plan

A CONTROVERSIAL health plan, which provoked a national petition containing 1.2 million signatures, has been backed in part by a Comet country council. Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) has passed a motion welcoming plans to create two new super surgeries in

A CONTROVERSIAL health plan, which provoked a national petition containing 1.2 million signatures, has been backed in part by a Comet country council.

Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) has passed a motion welcoming plans to create two new super surgeries in the town.

The NHS has insisted the new centres, one in the north of Stevenage and one in the south, will not lead to GP surgeries being closed, but plans to introduce super surgeries across the country have caused concern.

Last year, a national petition containing 1.2 million signatures was delivered to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and in October The Comet reported how a GP in Letchworth GC was speaking out against the proposals.

Dr Alex Smallwood, who works at The Nevells Road Surgery in Letchworth GC, said the plans could lead to cuts, closures and privatisation within the NHS.

"There's been a lot of anxiety created by what is planned," he said.

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"One of the concerns is that if we change things we may destabilise what we have currently.

"What we have now works. It's a real shame to pull it apart.

"Eroding and destabilising general practice through privatisation, and attempting to demoralise doctors and patients at every turn, will be resisted."

SBC said the new centres will be in addition to the existing GP surgeries and will help to cope with the expected increase in population over the next few years.

Cllr Sharon Taylor, leader of the council, said: "The council is committed to working in partnership with the primary care trust to reduce health inequalities in the town.

"We believe these proposed new super surgeries will help to ease the shortage of GPs in Stevenage and will improve the quality of healthcare for everyone.

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