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Independents' Day

Flagship polyclinic plans scrapped

By Steve Nowottny

Plans for a flagship polyclinic due to serve up to 50,000 patients have been dramatically scrapped after patients joined their GPs to fight against surgery closures.

Camden PCT was a trailblazer in pushing through Lord Darzi's proposals for primary care and was expected to house the first fully-fledged polyclinic in the country.

But it has announced it will not now pursue plans to shift four practices into development – in a huge victory for Pulse's campaign against the imposition of polyclinics on local communities.

Camden PCT had hoped that the hub-and-spoke polyclinic at UCLH would be the capital's first polyclinic.

Pulse revealed in July that secret talks had been held with private providers including Virgin Healthcare about running the centre.

But after four south Camden practices were earmarked to move into the polyclinic's ‘hub', patients held protests supporting their local GPs.

And a PCT spokesperson confirmed last week: ‘We will no longer pursue the option of locating polyclinic services at the UCLH site.'

Dr Paddy Glackin, secretary of Camden and Islington LMC, said: ‘There was an attempt to be ahead of the game in UCLH, and things moved ahead and they haven't worked out.

‘We recognise that UCLH is probably the most insanely expensive real estate in London and we're not surprised the PCT hasn't been able to close that deal financially.

‘A lot of south Camden GPs have been very anxious about the whole process and I think people will now be much less worried and concerned because it felt as if things had a momentum which nobody was really in control of.'

Dr Glackin added that two other polyclinics in central and north Camden, which are being ‘led and driven by GPs', would be proceeding as planned.

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