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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Darzi centres predicted to struggle in NHS budget squeeze

By Nigel Praities

Darzi centres will bear the brunt of shrinking NHS budgets and a lack of forward planning when their budgets were set by PCTs, says a top entrepreneurial GP.

Dr Rory McCrea, a GP in Waltham Abbey and a founder of the UK's first corporate provider of NHS general practice, said GP-led health centres would struggle to justify their cost over the next few years.

His company - Chilvers McCrea Healthcare – has been involved in bids for GP-led health centres around country, but he now claims traditional general practice will fare better than the larger centrally imposed health centres.

Speaking at the National Association of Primary Care conference in Birmingham, Dr McCrea said general practice faces an ‘Arctic freeze'.

‘It is going to be very tough and it will put practices under quite a lot of pressure – no surprises there. There needs to be more planning and capital.'

‘There is a lot happening with GP-led health centres and I think a lot will fall into some difficulty for financial reasons.'

‘There is not a great deal of money about and there is just not enough cash in them. The reason why is that there is a focus on service rather than development, and development has not been costed for where they need to be,' he said.

The comments come weeks after Pulse revealed GP-led health centres across England were failing to meet their targets for registering patients and were looking increasingly like a network of expensive 'white elephants'.

Dr McCrea was more upbeat about the future of traditional general practice: ‘I suspect we will see models such as ours turning practices around, and I predict there will be a there will a rise in partnerships – and that will be a good thing,' he said.

Dr Rory McCrea Dr Rory McCrea

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