MPs warn Darzi centres 'favour rich'

Darzi centres could make it harder for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to see their GP, MPs fear.

In a report on health inequalities, the House of Commons health select committee voiced concerns that GP-led health centres were introduced without 'due consideration of either need or inequalities, and that centralising GP services may make access more difficult for lower socio-economic groups'.

If the centres damaged services, PCTs should 'take steps to revert to traditional, more local patterns of service delivery', the report added.

The committee praised the government's ambition to improve health outcomes for England's poorest people.

But it warned that ministers 'often rush in with insufficient thought'. It calls for a more formal, evidence-based approach.

The QOF should address health inequalities by awarding more points for outcomes such as smoking cessation, and people could be encouraged to walk more and eat less fast food, if PCTs have a say in the planning process, the report said.

It also calls for the NHS to be more explicit about the 'cost' of NICE recommendations, in terms of alternative services that would be displaced were money to be reallocated.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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