GP SURGERIES across North Devon and Torridge are calling on local people for support in their fight against new Government plans to change the way in which GP services are provided. They fear proposed introduction of commercially-run super surgeries or p

GP SURGERIES across North Devon and Torridge are calling on local people for support in their fight against new Government plans to change the way in which GP services are provided.They fear proposed introduction of commercially-run super surgeries or 'polyclinics' could undermine local surgeries and threaten their future.The region's 22 local surgeries and medical centres are sending petitions calling for a rethink to the Prime Minister. They will be presented on June 12 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of NHS general practice.The petitions, signed by patients and public, call for continued support for existing GP surgeries with improvement in services through more investment rather than investing in super surgeries run by commercial companies - which, the petitions say, risks destabilising local surgeries and threatens the comprehensive and high quality care patients receive from their GPs.Up to 250 large health centres or 'polyclinics' are planned nationwide and could include one in each of Devon's Primary Care regions.The 14,800-patient Bideford Medical Centre is aiming for 1,000 names before its petition goes to No 10.A statement this week said: "The latest concerns of our GPs are the government plans for super-surgeries or 'polyclinics,' whereby the aim is to offer patients a 'one-stop' experience of multiple services by multiple healthcare professionals. This may well involve private agencies and GPs fear a lack of personalised healthcare."The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and many of the country's grass-roots GPs believe that 'polyclinics' will seriously threaten the quality and type of healthcare you receive."Spokeswoman Dr Antonia Lidder said: "At Bideford Medical Centre we know our community values continuity of care, they want to see someone they know and can trust and someone who knows them, their family and their health history. Polyclinics threaten this and we appeal to everyone to write to their MP to register their concern that general practice is being eroded at the expense of focusing on quantity rather than quality healthcare."To help your GPs in their campaign, write to your MP, sign the petition at www.supportyoursurgery.org.uk, or get more information from http://www.rcgp.org.uk/PDF/ publications/Factsheet%201.pdf