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MPs attack doctors over anti-polyclinic campaign

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MPs yesterday criticised as ‘irresponsible’ a campaign by doctors against building a wave of new polyclinics and primary care health centres.

Kevin Barron, chair of Parliament’s health committee, claimed that the BMA’s Save Our Surgeries campaign had misled patients into believing that their surgery would be privatised.

The BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said doctors fear that polyclinics will be built in areas where they were not needed, forcing existing practices to merge or compete. He feared a ‘one size fits all’ approach to primary care, but accepted that some GP’s campaign material may have been ‘over the top.’

Work has already begun on a network of up to 150 polyclinics in London, combining GPs, community nurses, midwives, dentists and some secondary care services like diagnostics and minor surgery.

Labour MP Dr Howard Stoate said that a new approach was necessary to deliver the Government’s target of access to a GP or primary care professional within 48 hours.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Living in the USA where these types of "shopping mall" clinics are available, there are some positives and many negatives. The positives are for those who need to see a healthcare provider for vacation type illnesses/ or urgent care that need immediate attention, but do not merit going to the emergency department, which will stop the over use of emeregency departments for less serious ailments.
    The negatives of these types of clinics is that if they are to replace individual doctors surgeries, continuity of care will suffer greatly particularly for the elderly and those who have chronic illnesses needing regular doctor visits. Visits will mean random care providers who do not know the patient/client will not establish any type of relationship. If these clinics are used as an adjuct to the patients regular doctors surgery, will their "notes' be passed along so that there remains continuity of care? Will problems be missed for the chronically ill/elderly patient?
    Here in the USA the focus is "relationship" based care, and making the conection to the patient/client. I think using these clinics as an extra service would be helpful, but they should never replace the quality of service provided by the pracice surgeries.

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  • THe real reality is that polyclinics like all developments won't deliver anywhere near what they promise.
    Having polyclinics in Britain is like saying we should be standing on a beach on December 25th because they are in Australia. Just because someone else has it doesn't mean that we should just throw away our history and traditions because another country that more or less HAD to redesign it's healthcare provision because they lost a lot of wars and had to think alternatively is a good way to modernize our primary care system.

    It's no suprise that GP's are overpaid and underworked when our ministers play good cop, bad cop with the professions and public,

    I disagree with polyclinics because they actually can't deliver what they should. They come from asking patient groups (never an honest or realistic excercise) what they want rather than quantifying what they need. If the NHS and the cronies that pretend to know what they're doing despite an utter lack of global professional representation, could manage to write a proposal without littering it woth words like 'synergy' and resource base' and other such guff then maybe i would take them seriously.
    Polyclinics are just a cover from the serious boob previous and current governments made by shutting down anything that didn't have screaming crowds of any people demonstrating outside.

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