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Polyclinics plan criticised by MPs

Plans for GP-led polyclinic health centres throughout the country have been criticised by the Commons Health Select Committee.

The government has said that all of the 152 primary care trusts (PCTs) in England must introduce such centres, to be open from 8 am–8 pm seven days a week.

But the committee says: "While some PCTs, particularly those which are 'under-doctore' or with a high burden of disease, would undoubtedly benefit from more primary care services, it is less clear how other PCTs would benefit.

"We are not convinced by the Department of Health's argument that all PCTs should have a GP-led health centre. In particular, PCTs lack analytical and planning skills and the quality of their management is very variable."

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA, said: "The report supports the BMA's view that the government directive - that a GP-led health centre be introduced in every primary care trust regardless of local need - was short-sighted."

Officials have been unable to give details of the criteria on which PCTs should decide if they need the clinics.

Copyright © Press Association 2009


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Fantastic idea - at last a service convenient for users rather than GPs. GP independent contracting needs to move on - it hasn't done so since the NHS was set up." - Fran Deeley, Midlands

"We are having one in the town I work in. We have three surgeries offering services for all patients' needs, so having something open 8 am-8 pm is just not needed – it is just duplicating existing services. It would be much better to have these clinics but to bring in secondary care and X-ray/UUS facilities rather than having to travel to hospitals with all the costs and perhaps only offr drop in during unsocial hours. It is basically a ploy to eventually close surgeries and have everything under PCT control including doctors who have for so long been their own boss." - Jane Furlow, Suffolk