RCGP chairman demands primary care review

RCGP conference 2008 DoH says GPs 'over-reacted' to GP-led health centres GPs 'need marketing plans'.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field has called for a national review of PCT plans for new practices under the Darzi reforms.

On the eve of the 2008 RCGP conference in Bournemouth last week, Professor Field warned that good ideas were being distorted by the implementation process.

He told GP: 'The timetable has been too short and the consultation with patients and doctors has been minimal. The implementation has been appalling.'

Professor Field said he wanted to see ministers review the activities of PCTs.

'We would like to hear from Lord Darzi that he is prepared to make sure PCTs are not just putting new centres into areas where they are not needed. We believe there is time to make sure that things are being done properly. That would show him to be a listening, empowered minister.'

Lord Darzi was scheduled to attend the conference, but was replaced at the last minute by DoH national clinical director for primary care Dr David Colin-Thome. Dr Colin-Thome said GPs had 'over-reacted' to plans for new health centres.

'Good practices have nothing to fear,' he added.

But Professor Field warned that there could be dire electoral consequences for the Labour government if the implementation of the reforms was not brought under control.

'If the feedback we are get-ting is true, this will all blow up within two years, which would not be good timing for the next election.'

Professor Field said that a recent visit to the Midlands had left him 'very worried about the procurement process'.

'I met doctors in Solihull who could not understand why the new centre was being put in an area of no need, rather than the main area of deprivation.

'In Herefordshire they do not really need a new centre. While the investment is good, it's not being decided appropriately.

'Where are the GPs, staff and patients going to come from in those areas where the new practices are not actually needed?'

colin.cooper@haymarket.com

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