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Polyclinics come under fire

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Government proposals to introduce polyclinics to improve primary care in the UK have come under fire from doctors and patient groups.

It is expected that junior health minister Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS is to recommend use of polyclinics to make services more accessible to patients.

Last week a conference of BMA consultants opposed the use of privately-run polyclinics and insisted that they should be properly piloted before being rolled out across the NHS.

A report by the King’s Fund has also raised concerns about whether they would be effective in achieving the government’s goals.

The report Under One Roof: Will polyclinics deliver integrated care? raised concerns that they may not necessarily promote better patient services and multidisciplinary teamworking.

It added that polyclinics may be more expensive and that specialist consultants may not be available to visit them because of constraints posed by the European Working Time Directive.

And pressure group Health Emergency is due to meet with Lord Darzi to raise concerns that private health companies such as United Healthcare may take them over

Geoff Martin, head of campaigns, said: ‘I will be demanding answers from Lord Darzi on the scale of private sector involvement in his proposed Polyclinics and will be warning him that there will be massive public opposition to the idea of companies like United Healthcare profiteering from the privatisation of local GP services.’

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Charlotte Peters Rock

    We already have doctors who will not work long hours - except that they then work for the on-call doctor service (at a higher rate?), as well as at their own surgery, at which they said they could not work such long hours.

    We have nurses who have suddenly transmogrified into 'doctors' treating patients hived off to them at the surgery.

    Then 'polyclinics, are being forced through to take the whole surgery away from where the patients actually live.. to shut down the friendly local chemist, in favour of the transnational which can afford to pay the very high polyclinic ingoings.

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  • Charlotte Peters Rock

    To make Polyclinics, a large number of local people have been put under great mental strain, as NHS bulidings are sold.

    Local dementia units are being closed down, where the protest is not great enough. Beleagured (often elderly), carers have no local respite care for their loved ones bringing an added burden of guilt, which they could well do without. They can't pop in every day, as they relax, often for the first time in years, if the new 'respite' care is two - uncertain - bus rides away. Often they can afford neither time, effort nor money to do that.

    Who is the NHS being run for? Not, it seems, the patient.

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  • Charlotte Peters Rock

    'Polyclinics' are turning doctors' surgeries into distant places, with amorphous people and numerous 'Reception' areas - until every doctor is forced to concede that patients can be shuffled to the least popular doctor in the new big building, as the NHS moves on again and 'Partner' GP Surgeries are swept away.

    At that point patients will be forced to accept unknown GPs in training. They will be cheaper for the NHS, than fully-qualified and experienced GPs who know their own patient base and its concerns, meeting many patients as the shop locally.

    Unless by then the whole of the NHS has been sold off to some foreign multinational, as is happening to pharmacies, hospitals, dentists..

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