The Government's drive to create a patient-centred NHS is failing, a report warns. Patients are less involved in healthcare than they were three years ago, and decisions about medicines and treatment are increasingly being taken out of their hands by GPs.

The results will come as a blow to ministers, who have championed choice in the NHS based on increasing patient involvement.

In the survey of 10,000 patients conducted for the Department of Health, only 45 per cent said they were given as much information as they wanted about their medicines. Patients were also unhappy about access to GPs, with seven out of 10saying they wanted surgeries to open in the evening and at weekends.

But problems over patients obtaining appointments seem to have been largely solved, with nine out of 10 saying they could see a doctor within the Government's target of 48 hours.

The findings were released as the British Medical Association urged GPs to unite to defend themselves against "politically inspired doctor bashing". A fact sheet has been sent to all 42,000 family doctors in the UK, which the BMA claims "rebuts the inaccuracies surrounding claims about the rise in [GPs'] earnings."