Bradshaw vows to quash resistance to Darzi centres
By Gareth Iacobucci
Health minister Ben Bradshaw has confidently predicted that every GP-led health centre will meet the Government's core criteria for service provision.
It comes after the Government moved to quash resistance from a clutch of PCTs who broke ranks earlier this year to protest against the imposition of new centres in their area.
In a Commons written answer to shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, Mr Bradshaw said Ministers had received assurances from SHAs that all centres were on track to meet Whitehall demands on opening hours and services provided
Pulse revealed in October that Ministers' determination to impose the centres on areas that don't want them had prompted a leading GP to resign in disgust from his PCT post.
Dr Andy Black quit as PEC member and clinical lead for Herefordshire PCT after the trust caved in to Government pressure to open a polyclinic despite fears it will lead to the closure of existing practices, and despite concluding the centre was ‘neither affordable nor value for money'.
But Mr Bradshaw suggested that any dissonance across the country had been stamped out via tough performance management.
He said: ‘Strategic health authorities have provided assurances via performance management discussions with the Department that none of the General Practitioner (GP)-led health centres or GP practices will not meet the core national criteria aimed at improving patient care and access to services.'
PCTs are expected to have all contracts for the new centres signed by December 31, with most expected to be open by April 2009.
In the latest tenders to be revealed, private firm Care UK was announced as preferred bidder for a centre in Brighton and Hove City PCT, while local GP consortia were successful in Norfolk PCT and Gloucestershire PCT.Ben Bradshaw: confident Darzi centres will meet Government demands despite opposition Ben Bradshaw: