Extra training in paediatrics proposed for GPs

SHA reports call for 'children's GPs', along with urgent care centres, virtual polyclinics and better technology.

Doctors' leaders have warned that proposals to create a new grade of 'children's GP' in Yorkshire would undermine continuity of care.

The proposal, made in NHS Yorkshire and Humberside's response to the Darzi review, could mean that sick children see community paediatricians rather than family GPs.

The report says that, although the idea is controversial, 'everyone agrees there is a need to ensure (doctors) have the appropriate level of paediatric expertise'.

The SHA says it is also considering making paediatrics a mandatory part of GP training, and identifying GPs who can 'act as a beacon for other practices'.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said that proposals for children's GPs would damage patient choice and undermine the concept of the family doctor.

'It's a complete misunderstand of what GPs do,' he said. 'If we do that we might as well start having specialists for every kind of illness.'

The SHA also recommends developing 'virtual' polyclinics, using technology to strengthen the links between GPs and secondary care.

Additionally, it recommends introducing urgent care centres for out-of-hours' care.

NHS South Central also proposes urgent care centres, and calls for more competition among providers.

NHS South West, meanwhile, pledges to move services such as diagnostics and rehabilitation into new community facilities, and to develop a 'mixed economy of care' including NHS, private and voluntary sectors.

Dr Buckman said he was unsurprised that 'a large collection of doctors have come to the conclusion that most of the NHS is alright - unlike the political view that nothing is right'.

Speaking at the launch of South Central SHA's report on Monday, health minister Lord Ara Darzi said: 'I hope my report in July will be purely an enabling report to make your vision a reality.'

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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