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Editor's blog Thursday 7 October 2010: Cake-and-eat-it comfort for Lansley over BBC survey of GP attitudes to White Paper

Listening to the BBC Radio 4 PM coverage of this survey of GPs' attitudes towards commissioning, I was struck that pollsters Com-Res's sample size (just over 800) was quite small.

The survey asked about the White Paper's proposals on GP involvement in commissioning.  23% of respondents said it would benefit patients; 45% said it would not; and 32% expressed no opinion.

25% of respondents said they would take on the extra responsibility of planning and buying health care for their local populations, with 57% saying they would not and 18% expressing no opinion.

Asked whether they believed the White Paper proposals would mean a greater role for the private sector (which technically, many GPs of course are), 70% of respondents agreed that it would.

Reading the story online, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's quoted response stands out as internally confused. He firstly says, "The survey is deeply flawed. It does not reflect the government's policy proposals for GP commissioning and therefore can not provide a genuine perspective of GPs' views on the plans".

The Health Secretary then adds, ""That said, if a quarter of GPs - nearly 10,000 of them - offered support for commissioning in response to this survey, it's a powerful indication of the willingness of GP practices to make progress".

Oh dear, oh dear. Firstly, I have my cake of trashing the opinion poll ... then I eat it by citing its findings as positive.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And what better comfort food than cake?