MPs fear GP-led health centres will be 'waste of money'

The government's haste to roll out its GP-led healthcare centres could waste millions of taxpayers' money, a parliamentary watchdog has warned.

Photograph: Arlen Connelly
Photograph: Arlen Connelly

The Health Select Committee’s report on last summer’s Darzi review welcomed moves to increase provision in under-doctored areas. But it warned that not every PCT would benefit from a new centre, and said that the policy needed to be carefully evaluated.

Yet in contrast to many of Lord Darzi's other proposals the DoH had undertaken no pilot testing of the new GP-led healthcare centres, the Committee said.

Even in London's polyclinic programme, for which the DoH has put together five pilots, it has yet to commission anyone to evaluate the new centres - raising the risk that ‘roll out will precede the results of the evaluation’. This ‘has the potential to waste taxpayers’ money and be grossly inefficient,’ the report warns.

The report also criticises the review for providing a long list of priorities without ranking them, and for its failure to estimate the costs of its proposals.

It also questioned whether PCTs and SHAs had the capability to deliver the programme.

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