DoH insists each PCT has a new polyclinic

The DoH's demand for a new polyclinic in each PCT means a new one must be built even where one exists already.

This means that in Macclesfield, where all 44 of the town's GPs already work from a modern, £13 million building, another polyclinic must be built.

Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT is required to build another polyclinic, which will be built little over a mile away.

Nicola Kent, primary care project manager at Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT, said that the government's operating framework required it to create another building to reduce A&E admissions. ‘We have to provide something additional,' she said. 

‘We know there are problems with people inappropriately going to A&E so we will provide a walk-in service near the hospital,' she added.

Macclesfield's Walters Green Medical Centre is not dissimilar to the government's model of a polyclinic and opened in 2006. 

The huge building houses six whole GP practices that moved into the building with the financial assistance of Assura Medical Limited. The centre offers over 20 additional services for patients. It is centrally located so patients need only get one bus. But the GPs remain on PMS and GMS contracts and do not offer extended hours.

The PCT says a new polyclinic is necessary to provide walk-in facilities and improve access for the population. Like most PCTs across England, Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT will be funding the new centre from its general budget. 

However, the PCT's performance report states that there are ‘no issues of concern about access to a GP' in the area.

GP Dr Gill Plant, chairwoman of the board of GPs at the Waters Green Medical Practice, said GPs were concerned about polyclinics and walk-in centres. 

‘I can't imagine there are many GPs that are comfortable knowing a company was moving into your patch, and your list size, and the services you offer will be affected.' 

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: ‘I suspect many PCT chief executives don't need a new polyclinic but daren't speak out against it. 

‘Macclesfield has an excellent primary care set-up. This will be an expensive white elephant.'

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