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Waiting lists plea rejected

DOCTORS' appeals for urgent government action to stop 'queue-jumping' by patients of GP fundholders for NHS operations were rejected by Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, last night, writes Judy Jones.

But the minister told consultants' leaders from the British Medical Association and the medical Royal Colleges she would consider suggestions for restoring the principle of treatment on the basis of clinical need.

Government denials last month that queue-jumping was taking place prompted the Joint Consultants Committee of the BMA and the colleges to compile a dossier of cases where GP fundholder patients had clearly been offered and given preferential treatment.