GP workload will rise by 77%

Health minister Lord Ara Darzi has warned MPs that there will be a 77 per cent increase in GP consultations in London over the next 10 years.

Giving evidence to the Health Select Committee last week, Lord Darzi said his polyclinic model was necessary if the NHS was to cope with London's expected population growth.

He predicted a 77 per cent increase in GP consultations over the next 10 years, as a result of an extra 700,000 patients in London. If nothing was done, Lord Darzi said, 'the whole system would be paralysed'.

He also admitted that his polyclinic vision did not consider the cost of land or how many centres were really required.

Lord Darzi said he did not know the value of NHS estates in London, despite it being central to establishing the cost of his proposed polyclinics.

He said there was still 'a large piece of work to be done' to establish how much land the NHS had but that selling off estate to create land for polyclinics was not the answer.

Lord Darzi said that rather than producing a business plan he had created a 'vision framework' that included the cost of provider models, but not NHS estates and facilities.

He said that any further business plans would be generated at a local level.

Lord Darzi recommended opening 150 new polyclinics in England in his 'Our NHS, Our Future' review, including an unspecified number in London.

He said the figure of 150 was provisional, that every PCT would have different needs and that polyclinics would not be suitable for all.

Lord Darzi was criticised for releasing his interim report from the 'Our NHS, Our Future' review amid 'election fever' and only days before parliament returned from recess.

But he insisted he was required to publish it before the government's spending review.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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