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Half of PCTs failing to consult patients over polyclinics

By Steve Nowottny

Half of England's PCTs have decided not to hold any formal consultation with patients over plans for a new polyclinic in their area, according to new figures published today.

Freedom of Information requests made to 99 of the country's 152 PCTs reveal that 50 percent have not and will not formally consult patients – despite health secretary Alan Johnson pledging to ‘insist that such decisions are taken in consultation with local people.'

Pulse revealed in April that PCTs were sidestepping the normal consultation processes, arguing there was no point in consulting over whether polyclinic plans should go ahead, because ministers were insisting they had to.

North Lancashire PCT said it had decided not to hold a consultation because ‘the Secretary of State's decision was that PCTs were not required to go through a consultation', while Manchester PCT said simply: ‘We can't consult on DH policy.'

Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley, who uncovered the data, called on the Government to ditch its plans to impose polyclinics.

‘Labour have claimed that they are not imposing polyclinics on local people, but these figures expose that lie for what it is,' he said.

‘Rather than attempt to debate polyclinics with local people and win them over with the facts Labour have instead resorted to spin and obfuscation. They know how unpopular their plans to shut down local GP services are and are simply running scared.'

For a full list of which PCTs will be holding consultations, see the table on the right.

PCT by PCT: polyclinic consultations

PCT by PCT: polyclinic consultations

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