Fighting a faceless, polyclinic future
A polyclinic is, we’re told, just a word.
A polyclinic is, we're told, just a word.
It's a health centre or a super-surgery or a one-stop shop, or just a nice new practice with a pharmacy and a unit for minor surgery.
And, so the logic goes, if you're for handing GPs access to diagnostic tests, putting them in nice new buildings and bringing hospital services closer to the community, then you have to be pro the Government's polyclinic programme too.
All of this is of course a deliberate tactic by ministers to obfuscate and confuse. The less clear are Lord Darzi's plans, the harder it is to pick out those elements that pose most of a threat.
And while Darzi's critics struggle to find a focus for their opposition, PCTs have already begun what looks to be a fundamental reshaping of GP services.
Pulse this week launches a campaign – Save Our Surgeries – in support of the traditional model of general practice, and against some key elements of Lord Darzi's proposals.
We do not oppose upgrading of GP premises, better collaboration between practices or evidence-based access to specialist services.
But we are against the headlong imposition of a new model of general practice that puts convenience culture ahead of continuity of care.
We believe general practice should only be delivered from one large building if local GPs and patients agree this is the best model for them.
We are concerned the political imperative for at least one polyclinic in each PCT will force practices to close or merge, and patients to travel further.
We fear flash new clinics, mostly run privately and staffed by shift-workers, will destroy the doctor-patient relationship and shut GPs out from the leadership of general practice.
If you share these concerns, please support Pulse's campaign.