GPs to replace A&E services

The first local plans from Lord Ara Darzi's NHS review have been condemned as 'shameful' and 'absurd', by the Conservative Party.

NHS East of England is the first SHA to produce its vision for local services as part of Lord Darzi's review of healthcare in England.

The proposals include a series of urgent care units staffed by GPs and 'emergency care clinicians' to reduce A&E admissions by 50 per cent.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley attacked the consultation process and the SHA's 'commitment' to having an A&E and obstetric unit in each of the area's 17 acute trusts. There are currently 19 across the region, suggesting two will close.

'In the 60th anniversary year of the NHS, what a shameful way for the Labour government to show its appreciation by shutting down viable and accessible services,' said Mr Lansley.

'There's no doubt that these changes aren't being driven by local communities; they're coming straight from Whitehall as a direct result of Lord Darzi's big, top-down review.'

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMC, attended the report's launch and said the plans were not particularly focused on primary care.

'We are not against the plans, but patients still need an advocate, a GP to come to first. The report is all about making secondary care more efficient and moving it into the community, but it will all be run by secondary care staff.'

Dr Balmer also said the LMC would try to encourage GP involvement.

The report also suggests creating Lord Darzi's signature large health centres.

SHA report

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