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One-size-fits-all polyclinics “insensitive to local needs

A "one-size-fits-all" approach to introducing polyclinics would waste public money, according to leaders from the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), who warn the government to "proceed more cautiously on this issue".

Entering the debate over polyclinics, which have been criticised by many - including the Conservative leader David Cameron this week - while provisionally welcomed elsewhere, Mike Ramsden, Chief Executive of the NAPC, said:

"GPs around the country are willing to work with local PCTs and other colleagues across the sectors to identify unmet needs of local populations and provide for those needs in the most efficient and accessible manner. In some instances, mainly in inner cities, this may be through polyclinics.

"However," he continued, "in the main, GP surgeries are of a high quality, and many GPs already offer their patients an extensive range of services.

"In such locations, the need for polyclinics does not exist and, in the view of the NAPC, a one-size-fits-all approach is insensitive to local needs and environments and wasteful of public monies."

Dr James Kingsland, NAPC Chairman (pictured), said the association intends to work with the Lord Darzi Review Board - of which he is a member - the British Medical Association and other healthcare organisations "to secure the best possible outcome for the patients and population of this country."

Dr Kingsland said: "There is a danger that if the NHS does not proceed more cautiously on this issue, there will be duplication of scarce provision and a totally unnecessary use of valuable resources that would be better deployed elsewhere."

Roy Lilley, NAPC External Relations Officer, added: "Wider and more extensive debate is required on this unpopular policy, which ignores the whole idea of patient choice and convenience.

"There are many unanswered questions and yet already some PCTs are planning to build Darzi Palaces. The proposed policy has taken on a life of its own."


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