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GPC leader urges GPs to fight polyclinics

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman is urging GPs to oppose plans for NHS polyclinics, claiming they will mean the death of small practices offering personalised care.

Dr Buckman spoke out after NHS London announced it is to hold a major consultation over health minister Lord Darzi's plans for a sweeping change in GP and hospital services in the capital, which may become a model for towns and cities up and down the country.

The newly elected GPC leader, himself a single-handed GP in Barnet, north London, claims that bringing GPs together in large premises covering wide areas will deprive patients of what they need most – individualised treatment from a GP they know and trust.

Patients attached to a polyclinic may have to see a different GP each time they visit, he added.

Dr Buckman said: ‘Patients want a particular GP for a particular need. You would not get that in a polyclinic.'

The GPC chair also criticised the man behind the plans, Lord Darzi, who is also heading up a wider review of the NHS for Gordon Brown, which is expected to expand the idea of polyclinics.

‘He is a surgeon and he is giving a surgeon's view – that all GPs are the same and they are just people who issue certificates. He does not realise that personal care is what patients really want. He wants healthcare services to have better premises and facilities – and of course I would agree with that. But it seems that he just wants to close things to save money.'

A spokesman for NHS London said: 'There is absolutely no intention of forcing GPs into polyclinics. In fact there are a number of GPs who have approached PCTs and NHS London and said that they liked the idea. They wanted to know more about it.'

Dr Buckman - GPs should oppose polyclinic plans Dr Buckman - GPs should oppose polyclinic plans

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