PCT holds consultation on closing GP practices

A PCT is proposing to close GP practices and increase GP-led out-of-hours services, in a bid to make £6m savings.

NHS Peterborough is holding a public consultation on the future of primary and urgent care in the area.

The PCT aims to make £6m of savings over the next five years. In order to achieve the savings, the consultation has suggested three ways that primary care could be improved locally.

The first option is to do nothing, and keep all GP practices open. However this option would mean that no savings could be made.

The second option is to close between six and nine GP practices and increase GP out-of-hours cover.

The number of GPs working in the local area would remain the same and some premises would be improved and additional services provided.

One of the city’s two walk-in centres would be changed to a minor illness and injury unit, allowing the accident and emergency department to have a greater focus on emergency and life threatening cases.

The second option is predicted to make £5m in savings, by the PCT. This leaves £1m savings to be found elsewhere.

The third option, preferred by the PCT, would close six to nine GP practices and improve the remaining practices' capacity to expand to accommodate the increased population.

GP out-of hours cover would be increased and the two local walk-in centres would be changed to one minor illness and injury unit.

NHS Peterborough said: ‘Option three provides the greatest opportunity to improve service quality, reduce health inequalities, improve patient experience and increase capacity.

‘This change would release NHS resources that would be redirected to invest in four new health centres which would allow GP surgeries to increase their services, to meet future demand benefitting 60,000 residents in Peterborough.'

Editor's blog; Why we need more GPs and what is the government doing with seasonal flu vaccine supplies?

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