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Paediatric GP plans being rolled out across the country

By Nigel Praities

Exclusive: Controversial plans for a new breed of specialist GPs to take over routine paediatric care are to be rolled out across large parts of the country.

The proposals, revealed by NHS London last week, have attracted criticism from GPs for their potential to fragment care and deskill general practice.

But Pulse has learned that NHS East of England has developed post-Darzi plans to create a new ‘mini-NHS' for children to run alongside adult services.

And NHS South East Coast has similar post-Darzi plans, with documents setting out moves to create a new wave of ‘paediatric primary care practitioners' and ‘modern matrons' for chronically ill children.

Proposals for ‘children's GPs' were first aired in NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, where the plans have since been modified in response to GP criticism, but still involve a network of paediatric nurses.

An East of England strategy document says current services are ‘patchy', and need shifting into the community.

Part of this plan includes a network of children's GPSIs – due for completion imminently – and new children's centres to run alongside GP services.

These will focus on providing additional diagnostics, management of long-term conditions and child protection work.

The radical plans have been pulled together without consultation with local GPs and by a steering committee containing three GPs out of 28 members.

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMCs and a GPC member, said it was a ‘dreadful idea'. ‘It is completely bonkers. If a mother is not well, she goes to one surgery and the child is not well, they go somewhere else. It's just not the way patients behave and would be a complete waste of time,' he said.

The London plans were also opposed by local GPs, with RCGP vice-chair Dr Clare Gerada accusing specialists of ‘muscling in' on general practice.

It has now emerged the Healthcare for London paediatric strategy was drawn up by a 36-strong committee, including only two GPs.

Dr Tony Stanton, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said: ‘Yet again NHS London has produced plans for primary care without involving anyone in grassroots general practice.'

1 North Yorkshire and Humber: Revealed plans for new ‘community paediatric specialists', but has since backtracked

2 London: Plans for ‘paediatric primary-based clinicians' to be the mainstay of care for children

3 East of England: Network of nHow child GP model is spreading Children's health plans

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