Up to seven polyclinics planned for each PCT

PCTs outside of England's major cities are going ahead with plans for up to seven polyclinics per PCT.

PCTs covering towns and rural counties are planning to open more than the one polyclinic asked of them by the DoH.

The only way to meet DoH's policies on basing more services in the community is to group services together in larger buildings, said one PCT spokeswoman.

Areas like Bolton have started to develop similar plans to England's largest cities, involving networks of polyclinics and large health centres.

Bolton PCT has started work on seven new polyclinics to house GPs and provide extra services for patients.

Cheshire PCT is developing four polyclinics that will incorporate at least three local practices each.

The DoH's drive to move hospital services into the community means PCTs are building larger health centres to make the plans cost effective.

A spokeswoman for Bolton PCT said, 'When you move services from the hospital to the community, you have to group things together in this way for it to be cost-effective.'

A spokeswoman for Chester PCT said access to a broader range of services would require buildings with a 'larger footprint'. The PCT is assessing whether a consultation is necessary.

Hull PCT is consulting on plans to open four polyclinics and up to five new APMS GP surgeries.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'Lord Darzi says that the re-organisation of the NHS is voluntary; that it will only happen if patients and doctors agree it is a good idea.

'I would like to see if these schemes have received overwhelming support.'

Major urban areas including Liverpool, Birmingham and London have all approved plans to base almost all GP services around polyclinics over the next three years.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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