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Polysystems launched in NE London

North-east London GPs are to be given the power to decide how and where healthcare budgets will be spent, as a primary care trust becomes the first in the country to hand over its commissioning function.

NHS Redbridge has disbanded its three practice-based commissioning clusters and replaced them with five polysystems to represent the interests of the borough's 51 general practices.

In a move that could eventually give family doctors control of a £400m budget, the new polysystems are designed around a "hub and spoke" model, with each covering a distinct geographical area.

At the "hub" is a multipurpose polyclinic, which will offer a range of services, including outpatients and diagnostics, surrounded by local hospitals, pharmacies and surgeries to make up the "spokes".

Each polysystem is run by a board of local GPs, who may be given responsibilities to commission services and meet targets from the Department of Health and NHS Redbridge.

Local GP Narinder Sharma, Clinical Director for Loxford Polysystem, said: "Health needs vary from area to area and being able to focus the appropriate resources on specific areas as well as anticipate future health trends is a great step forward."

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NHS Redbridge