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At the heart of general practice since 1960

First polyclinic will serve 50,000 patients

By Steve Nowottny

A purpose-built polyclinic serving up to 50,000 patients will be one of five due to open in London as early as next spring, NHS bosses have revealed.

The five new polyclinics – all to be launched under the hub-and-spoke model - are the first to be formally unveiled as part of the Healthcare for London review.

Up to 150 polyclinics could eventually be deployed across the capital over the next decade, in what would be one of the biggest ever shake-ups of primary care.

Four of the centres – in Harrow, Hounslow, Lambeth and Waltham Forest – will be built around existing developments, but the fifth in Redbridge will be opened in a purpose-built building.

The new Loxford Centre will cater initially for 12,000 patients in its ‘hub' and a further 30,000 patients in four ‘spokes', with the capacity for 50,000 in total.

‘Meeters and greeters' will direct patients around the centre, which will include a gym and a café alongside diagnostics, screening services and outpatient clinics.

At least three local GP surgeries are to close to enable practices to move into the polyclinic hubs. But with more polyclinics expected to follow, dozens of surgeries in areas such as Camden and Haringey are thought to be under threat.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that NHS bosses were likely to approve a total of 13 polyclinic projects in the first wave roll-out.

NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said last week's announcement was ‘only the beginning.'

‘Polyclinics are a London solution to a London problem,' she said. ‘They will tackle two of the biggest problems in the capital, namely patients finding it difficult to get a GP appointment and the result, which is people turning up at A&E when they should be seeing their family doctor.'

Dr Tom Coffey, a GP in Wandsworth and clinical director of the polyclinic project, insisted polyclinics would ‘help save lives.'

‘They are not about a building but a model of care,' he said. ‘The shift of focus to provide services in the community will improve care for all patients, particularly disadvantaged groups and those with long-term conditions.'

Dr Tony Stanton, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said he was encouraged that all five polyclinic were being developed under the federated model.

‘Perhaps the 45,000 patients that signed our petition last July can take this decision as a small victory in the fight to secure the future of neighbourhood general practice,' he said.

The first five polyclinics...

Harrow – Alexandra Avenue Health and Social Care Centre
One GP practice expected to relocate into the premises, with six practices in the network and an urgent care centre to be created.

Hounslow – Heart of Hounslow Centre
Centre to be opened seven days a week, with extended diagnostics and up to seven practices in the network.

Lambeth – Gracefield Gardens
From next April this centre will include hospital services and GP access seven days a week, with 21 practices to be part of the network.

Redbridge – Loxford Centre
The first purpose-built polyclinic will see two practices relocate into its hub and a further four practices as spokes.

Waltham Forest – tbc
One polyclinic planned to open next spring with two more to follow, although PCT bosses are still drawing up detailed plans.

...and others to follow

Camden – Working on four federated polyclinics – four local surgeries to be closed to move into the first at University College London Hospital

Haringey – Had planned to close 37 surgeries to make way for federated polyclinics, although PCT bosses have pledged to rethink plans

Kensington and Chelsea – Five surgeries to be closed with practices relocated into the hub of a federated polyclinic at St Charles Community Hospital

Polyclinics revealed: first to serve up to 50,000 patients Polyclinics revealed: first to serve up to 50,000 patients

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