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London polyclinic plans revealed

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Plans for the first five polyclinics in London were announced last week by PCTs, potentially opening the door for a range of new nurse-led services.

The schemes, expected to be operational by next spring, include extending existing clinics in Harrow, Hounslow and Lambeth, while the first purpose-built examples will be located in Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

All 31 London PCTs are currently developing plans for polyclinics, which draw together a range of primary care and outpatients services in one location, to be introduced over the next five years. Reports in the medical press have suggested the clinics will employ nine nurses for every three GPs.

Bernell Bussue, director of RCN London, said: ‘The RCN sees opportunities for a range of nurse-led services, utilising the diverse, cost-effective range of knowledge, skills and experience the nursing workforce has.’

But RCN head of policy Howard Catton added that they should not be used as a one-size-fits-all solution to community healthcare. ‘We would be concerned if other services were withdrawn from rural communities,’ he said.

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