Swathes of Darzi centres could be closed in NHS efficiency drive

Swathes of Darzi centres could be shut down or have their services changed as PCTs begin to carry out strategic reviews in a drive to find value for money.

In his 2008 NHS review, former health minister Lord Ara Darzi had planned to build up to 150 polyclinics in the capital over the next decade
Data obtained from 95 PCTs under the Freedom of Information Act showed that around 20 PCTs are looking to carry out a strategic review of the centres - some of which are polyclinics offering a wide range of services. Many more said they review the centres annually.

The investigation showed that the Quality, Improvement, Productivity and Prevention agenda (QIPP), PCT clustering and the move towards GP commissioning are spurring the reviews.

Wessex LMC chief executive Dr Nigel Watson said NHS Hampshire will review its centre in Basingstoke, which has 278 registered patients, as part of its QIPP agenda.

He said a ‘very active’ GP commissioning group in the area is involved in the process, and said the review will look to ensure value for money at the centre.

He said the PCT must be ‘open minded’ when it reviews the service, outlining that it could result in a change in the services offered or a closure of the centre.

Dr Watson said: ‘The big drive is to manage people appropriately in the community. If you live in Basingstoke choice and access to healthcare is not a problem, so it doesn’t seem a lot of sense to spend that much money duplicating what already exists.

‘It will look at what the centre delivers at the moment and whether this is value for money or better invested elsewhere. This is what the QIPP agenda should be about, and not just about cutting services.’

NHS Bournemouth and Poole, meanwhile, said that the Darzi centre contract is under ‘re-negotiation’ to address the strategic objectives of the PCT and shadow GP consortium.

NHS Lewisham in south east London said a review of its centre would take place as PCT cluster arrangements across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham are developed.

Other PCTs have already carried out their reviews of the centres, with NHS Mid Essex converting its Darzi centre to a nurse-led facility last year.

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