Exclusive: GP-led health centres 'could be run without GPs'

Some GP-led health centres could be run without a GP on site at all times, GP newspaper can reveal.

Providers bidding to run centres have proposed staff models heavily dependent on nurses.

GPs in Suffolk said they had been asked to provide daily on-call cover so a GP-led health centre could operate with no GPs on site for part of the day.

However, The Practice PLC, contracted to run the GP-led health centre in Suffolk, has denied planning to operate a clinic without GPs on site.

Commenting on the issue of nurses outnumbering GPs at Darzi centres, the Royal College of Nursing's chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: ‘Establishing the correct balance of doctors and nurses to work in partnership is central to providing the best possible care.

The important point is that the collective skill-set of the healthcare professionals working in a polyclinic matches the care needs of the patients they treat.

‘Patients value the exceptional care provided by nurses at a local level, and other nurse-led initiatives, such as NHS walk-in centres, are highly valued by the general public. In polyclinics, nurses will be able to offer community-based services to an even greater number of patients.

‘However, nurses will only be able to provide this high quality care if the government invests in more community nurses to deliver care closer to home.’

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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