White elephant fear over polyclinics

‘Short-sighted’ proposals to replace local practices and district hospitals in London with one-stop ‘supersurgeries’ could leave a legacy of costly white elephants, according to Londonwide LMCs.

Londonwide LMCs secretary Dr Fay Wilson
Londonwide LMCs secretary Dr Fay Wilson

Under proposals for a radical overhaul of healthcare in the capital, which the government could roll out across the UK, GPs will be encouraged to sell up and move into NHS-owned polyclinics, housing up to 10 practices.

In his report, 'Healthcare for London: a framework for action', published last week and commissioned by NHS London, the surgeon and junior health minister Professor Sir Ara Darzi describes current GP premises as 'often in cramped, converted residential spaces with little opportunity to expand'.

Polyclinics could house 25 GPs working alongside consultants. X-rays, ultrasound, blood tests and dialysis would all be provided, with hospitals concentrating on acute services.

Sir Ara hopes the first clinics will open by April 2009.

The report says polyclinics will offer 'extended opening hours across a wide range of services'.

APMS contractors would be welcome to bid if GP consortia were not interested in managing polyclinics.

NHS London said the capital was 'going to be a model for other areas' as they review primary care.

Londonwide LMCs secretary Dr Fay Wilson said: 'We're worried that they will do the downgrading hospitals bit without putting extra funds into primary care; that would leave us with a load of inefficient white elephants in London with GPs rattling around in pointless buildings.'


NHS London Report 

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us: