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Are polyclinics going to improve patient care?

Are polyclinics going to improve patient care?

No. The money assigned to the polyclinics should be invested into existing general practices, enabling them to offer improved tailored services that are appropriate to the patient population. Patients benefit from seeing a clinician with whom they have developed a trusting relationship, who has a knowledge of their medical history and who understands their particular health needs. Local practices are being coerced into bidding against each other and against big private companies to deliver a service that patients have not asked for. Continuity of care is the key, but as usual the government has chosen to ignore this important factor.
Lesley Frater, Advanced Clinical Practitioner in General Practice, Washington, Newcastle

Yes. I think polyclinics have the potential to improve patient care but only if they are run in an efficient, sensitive, responsive and nonbureaucratic way. The idea of having a range of general and specialist services close to the community is a great idea but my fear is that bureaucrats, managers and self-interested clinicians may get in the way of them working effectively. If they could be run with a clear health needs focus and with the local community involved in their developments then they could develop services that are responsive and flexible. I would also like to see nurses having more say in how these services are developed. I regret that the fear of financial loss for some working in primary care could be the real threat to this development.
Sue Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Primary Care, University of Northumbria

No. Personally I do not believe that polyclinics are the answer to the problems within the community. The government should be communicating and working more closely with practice nurses, GPs and other community staff, and seeking their thoughts and opinions before changes are made, not afterwards as is usually the case. A lot of the problems relate to infrastructures not being in place to accommodate change. Polyclinics will not alleviate the pressure and staffing problems that already exist. Chris Forest-Potter, Lead Practitioner/District Nurse, Leicester PCT