Why I object to NHS super surgery plan

I WAS very pleased to read that my GP colleague, Dr Bernard Newgrosh, has publicly challenged the concept of the GP super surgeries (January 7).

I am absolutely in agreement with his comments that, in the long term, they will spell the end of the smaller, local surgery where patients are able to obtain a more personal service from doctors and staff.

Tim Evans, chief executive of Bolton NHS Primary Care Trust, who is behind the plans, refutes my observations (January 14) by insisting that each practice within the new centres will retain the same close individual relationship with patients.

Unfortunately, the vastness of these centres will make familiarity with patients much more difficult.

Eventually, as Dr Newgrosh predicts, nurses and healthcare assistants will be easy to substitute for GPs and more easy to control, with the overall number of GPs diminishing as they assume a consultant role for complex cases that are referred to them by the paramedical staff, thus losing the personal contact with "their" patients.

Younger GPs starting their career will be less likely to put down roots in an environment where prospects for smaller surgery survival and super surgery employment may become uncertain - just what we don't want in our under-doctored town.

Of course we all want better health for Bolton, but, please, don't let us throw the baby out with the bath water.

Remember, small is beautiful and the personal GP is the patients' friend and advocate when dealing with the ever-increasing power of the state, which will be further enhanced if super surgeries go ahead.

By all means, let us build new surgeries, especially in areas of need, but expensive super surgeries do not appear to be the way forward.

Dr I G V James, Chapeltown Road, Bromley Cross

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