Anger over plan for polyclinics

A bitter war of words has broken out between government and family doctors over plans for polyclinics across England.

The Health minister Ben Bradshaw accused the British Medical Association (BMA) of "misleading and mendacious" behaviour in amassing 1.2 million signatories to a petition calling for local GP surgeries to be protected.

The BMA responded by challenging the Government to forward any evidence of inaccuracies or pressure on patients to support its campaign.

According to the BMA, GP practices will close as new "supersurgeries" open. Its petition also calls on ministers to stop encouraging the use of private firms to deliver primary care.

Mr Bradshaw said he had received anecdotal evidence of people feeling pressured to sign the petition.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs Committee, will it in to Downing Street today.