Darzi's polyclinic plan comes under attack

The government's polyclinic plans have come under fire from clinicians and opposition politicians as the debate over the future of the NHS intensified.

Lord Darzi
Lord Darzi

Speakers from across London joined a debate at the BMA last month on the proposals in Lord Darzi's report 'Healthcare for London'.

Earlier in the day, Lord Darzi was criticised by MPs as he presented evidence to the Health Select Committee, which scrutinises government policy.

At the BMA's debate, Sir Cyril Chantler, chairman of the clinical advisory group on the Darzi review, defended Lord Darzi's plans for London's healthcare while GPs spoke out about privatisation and polyclinics.

Sir Cyril's claims that the DoH did not intend to privatise the NHS were met with disbelief from BMA members - the DoH has confirmed that all 250 new health centres will be offered on APMS contracts, and the private sector is meeting with the government to help provide healthcare in under-doctored areas.

Many BMA members feel the proposals were being rushed into implementation before the next stage of consultation. A Camden PCT representative was jeered when he said: 'The implementation of polyclinics is not happening' despite interest in a polyclinic on Tottenham Court Road in central London.

He continued: 'We are committed to getting the best out if this consultation because the responsibility lies with us.'

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'In reality, many PCTs are spending energy working out to how to implement these proposals.'

Sir Cyril said there would be another stage of consultation, with a joint committee made up of representatives from the 31 PCTs across London.

He was forced to promise that more clinician groups would be represented in the next stage of the consultation, after geriatrician groups claimed their opinions had been ignored.

Dr John Lister, of campaigning group London Health Emergency, claimed the review was 'unrealistic'.

The polyclinics would require roughly 5,200 GPs, yet there had been no discussion of a working arrangement to encourage any staff into them, said Dr Lister.

Dr Nagpaul said the range of services on offer was too large for the population a polyclinic would serve.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com.

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