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Government to invest £132m in community hospitals and polyclinics

By Steve Nowottny

The Government is to plough £3m into a new polyclinic in Hartlepool as part of a £132m investment in NHS premises, it was announced today.

More than £100m will also be spent on transforming ‘outdated facilities' in eight areas across England into ‘modern community hospitals'.

It follows the Department of Health asking PCTs in July 2006 to bid for £750m in funding to build ‘a new generation of community hospitals, health centres and polyclinics.'

The latest wave of investment means 23 schemes worth £272m have now been approved, with more to follow.

The investment by central government in a polyclinic outside of London comes as yet another indication that ministers plan to roll out the controversial model beyond the capital, despite claims to the contrary.

As well as housing GPs, the Hartlepool health centre will offer a walk-in service for patients and provide other services such as diagnostics and minor surgery.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: ‘We are not just building like-for-like replacements of existing buildings, we are rethinking the way the NHS provides care so that patients receive better, more convenient services.'

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