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09-30-2007, 01:41 PM
Commenting today on the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson's speech, at this year's Labour Party Conference, BMA Chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said:

"Mr Johnson's words sounds good but we now have to see if they are followed by action. A 'clinically-led' and 'locally-driven' NHS is what the BMA has been calling for, for many months and we hope the government is sincere when it claims to be following this goal. It is essential that the government engages with the medical profession, not just a few hand-picked senior doctors but doctors working at grassroots level.

"The Health Secretary spoke about the need for GP surgeries to be open in places and at times that suit patients. GPs are already working extremely hard to benefit their local populations and a recent government survey showed that well over eight out of ten patients were satisfied with access to their practices. It is ironic that on one hand Mr Johnson talks about clinical engagement and yet when it comes to GP hours he does not approach the BMA. We are always willing to talk to the Health Secretary about how the service we provide can be improved but obviously increased opening times and services need considerable resources.

"The BMA is pleased that Mr Johnson highlighted 'quality' as a goal for the next decade. Unfortunately we still do not have good quality data and this needs to change. This data will not only be invaluable to clinicians but also to patients."

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