Healthcare: On the Agenda - Polyclinics row refuses to quieten

In a Nutshell: The Government, the Tory party and doctors are locked in a battle over plans to create more polyclinics, or 'super-surgeries', as part of health minister Lord Ara Darzi's NHS reform plans.

What are each side's main concerns?

The British Medical Association (BMA) claims government plans for general practice and the impact of creeping commercialisation will be detrimental to the NHS. Conservative party leader David Cameron has also objected to the polyclinic plan, claiming that it would threaten up to 1,700 GP practices with closure. Prime Minster Gordon Brown has attacked doctors' leaders for their 'ill-founded' opposition.

Why has the row escalated so much in the past week?

The BMA handed in a petition to Number 10 against polyclinics signed by 1.2 million patients. Meanwhile, a meeting of all 31 primary care trusts in London agreed to go ahead with plans for a least 150 polyclinics in the capital.

Media coverage

The row has been picked up by all the nationals and regional press. The topic has also been pored over by commentators. The Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee criticised the BMA and the Tory party. She said: 'This doctors' protest is all about profits, not patients.'

1.2m - Number of people who signed BMA petition

£1.4bn - Cost Tories claim polyclinics will add to NHS budget.

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