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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Darzi centres face rewrite of contracts

By Gareth Iacobucci

PCTs may have to rewrite the contracts of Lord Darzi's GP-led health centres to reflect their use for urgent care rather than for registering patients, a health minister has admitted.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, health minister Mike O'Brien strongly defended the rollout of the centres, but argued that their primary role would be to relieve pressure on overworked A&E departments.

And he admitted the centres' contracts might have to be altered to reward them for taking on an increasing role in urgent care - as some GPs running the centres have already demanded.

His comments follow a recent Pulse investigation which showed that many of the centres were struggling to meet their patient registration targets.

Mr O'Brien said that patients would ultimately determine how the centres are used, but that he anticipated they would be taking on an increasing proportion of work from A&E in the future.

‘One of the concerns we've had is that we've seen an increase in the number of people going to A&E,' he said. ‘What we are likely to see is, instead of going to A&E, people will start going to GP-led health centres. The question then becomes how you deal with that in funding terms.'

He added: ‘I think we have to look at this in a year or two, when we have a better understanding of what the impact is on A&E, on GPs, and also how the centres themselves are developed.'

Health minister Mike O'Brien Health minister Mike O'Brien Read the interview

Health minister Mike O'Brien was speaking exclusively to Pulse - you can read the full interview here.

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