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Darzi drops all reference to polyclinics

By Gareth Iacobucci

Lord Darzi jettisoned the word ‘polyclinic' from his report because the Department of Heath feared its very mention had become damaging, Pulse can reveal.

The p-word does not feature once in the NHS Next Stage Review, with Lord Darzi telling the House of Lords: ‘I have not mentioned my favourite word'.

Dr James Kingsland, chair of the National Association of Primary Care and one of Lord Darzi's key advisers, told Pulse: ‘The decision was taken very early on that the term was becoming destructive.'

But the lack of the written word does not mean the Government has abandoned its polyclinic plans, with the push for one in every PCT continuing, as is the introduction of large-scale polyclinics in London and elsewhere.

The review aims to drive competition among existing practices by introducing private competition for services and contracts.

But Lord Darzi, speaking to the BBC on Sunday, insisted that the programme of GP-led health centres would not force existing surgeries to close. Asked whether GP surgeries would close, Lord Darzi responded: 'Absolutely not. This is additionality. We want patients to have the choice.'

Meanwhile, BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum told its annual conference this week that GPs and patients were united against ‘the ham-fisted imposition of polyclinics and so-

called GP-led health centres,' adding: ‘That last term is a bit of a joke given the blatant encouragement to the commercial sector to run them.'

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