Dr Jeremy Harris
Dr Harris has been chair of Kingston and Richmond LMC for the past four years. His PCT is planning a pilot polyclinic as part of Lord Darzi’s plans for London.
Dr Harris has been chair of Kingston and Richmond LMC for the past four years. His PCT is planning a pilot polyclinic as part of Lord Darzi's plans for London.
During your four years, what have been the key challenges and what are the big issues now?
The biggest challenge was implementing the new GMS contract.
The depressing thing about the contract is that the evidence is that it's not delivering to GPs what it was supposed to. There is disappointment in the politicisation of the QOF. GPs are working
a lot harder and the most depressing thing is that, despite the fact we're all working our socks off, the Government's publicity campaign over the past few months has put us in a bad light.
What will be the key issues at this year's LMCs conference, and what would you like to raise?
I think there will be a lot of conversation about the ballot, extended hours and the loss of the MPIG too. There will be criticism of the Government and of our negotiators.
Do you expect out-of-hours care and polyclinics to be discussed heavily too?
It's inevitable. Any patient or GP who read The Independent's article on polyclinics last week will be concerned.
But I'm trying to impress on my colleagues that this is an opportunity rather than a threat. We must realise we have to change how we practise.
What do you make of polyclinics? Would you work in one?
I think I would retire first! I don't think a polyclinic necessarily means a new building – it can be a virtual polyclinic.
If you see it in that light, I would welcome the chance to give more diagnostics in the community. We need to manage people better before referral or even negate the need for referral.
Where the population is well served, setting up a Darzi centre or an extended hours centre worries me, and will destabilise general practice.
But it's an opportunity to look closely at the way we work, and we need to remember we are a service industry.
If you were health secretary for a day, what would you do?
Focus hard on getting patients seen in the right place at the right time, without delay. Too many people have to wait in the NHS, and worry unnecessarily.