London's mayor wants polyclinic rethink

PCTs will now officially push ahead with plans to build up to 150 polyclinics across London despite the opposition of Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Roughly half of the 4,733 responses to London's healthcare consultation were in favour of moving GP services into polyclinics. A third disagreed with the proposals of health minister Lord Ara Darzi.

Despite significant criticism of the 'merged' polyclinic model, where practices are co-located in one large building, PCTs will meet next month to start planning their polyclinics.

A spokesman for NHS London said the merged model may not be appropriate in some areas, and networks of existing practices could provide polyclinic services.

Boris Johnson's official response to the consultation was particularly negative. Ahead of his election as Mayor of London last week, he called for a 'rethink' of the plans.

'Polyclinics are untested in the capital, and practically untested in the UK. While polyclinics may be appropriate in some areas they should not be imposed everywhere across the capital,' he wrote.

The 'Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action' consultation said that those in the older age groups and NHS staff were most likely to 'strongly disagree' with the proposals.

There were a number of concerns about continuity of care, travel times and access to be addressed, the report says.

Planned changes to maternity and end-of-life care, which received a decidedly negative response, will be rethought, said an NHS London spokesman.

Last week, GP reported that the NHS London board reports show that polyclinics plans were 'approved for initiation' months before the consultation finished.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Healthcare for London report

What the mayor thinks
Boris Johnson on polyclinics
Polyclinics are untested in the capital, and practically untested in the UK. While polyclinics may be appropriate in some areas they should not be imposed everywhere across the capital.

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