Doctors warn of premature move to polyclinics

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 20 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:635
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

Fears are growing among doctors that many primary care trusts (PCTs) are already preparing for polyclinics—large centres with GPs and specialists under one roof—even before the government gives the final go ahead later this year.

Doctors’ leaders believe that, despite promises from the government that local areas will be able to choose how they modernise primary care, implementation of the policy of polyclinics is inevitable.

PCTs are placing a growing number of advertisements in trade publications such as the Health Service Journal and GP magazine for GPs or companies to run such clinics, says the BMA. It is worried that polyclinics are unstoppable and may undermine the basis of general practice.

The BMA expects that polyclinics will feature large in junior health minister Ara Darzi’s final proposals, which are due by June with the publication of his second stage review.

Professor Darzi first mentioned polyclinics in the report Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action, published in July last year (BMJ 2007;335:61; doi: 10.1136/bmj.39273.467697.DB). The report provided a blueprint for “cradle to grave” health care, with super-surgeries or polyclinics across London that would, by 2017, carry out up to half of outpatient treatment currently handled by hospitals.

Then last October Professor Darzi published an interim report of his review into the future of the NHS in England as a whole. This …

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