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Polyclinics 'not value for money'

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A study of GP surgeries has found polyclinics may not be 'value for money' after it found average-sized GP practices provide a similar volume and range of extra services.

According to the study published in the British Journal of General Practice, there was 'very little difference in service provision' between current average sized practices and the flagship polyclinics catering for upwards of 30,000 patients.

However, the observational study of 384 practices across 14 primary care trusts in England found practices under the average size of 6,330 patients do take on fewer services, such as diabetes clinics.

Dr Hendrik Beerstecher, who runs a GP practice in Sittingbourne, Kent, and who undertook the study alongside researcher Claire Morgan said the study aimed to see if larger practices would free up resources.

He said: 'The idea behind the polyclinics is that they would take on hospital work and reduce the cost of the NHS overall. We wanted to see if there was extra capacity in larger practices to do this.'

But he concluded: 'I can't see the rationale behind creating very large practices. Taxpayers' money is being spent on doing these projects and I don't know if it will be value for money.'

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