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PCTs press ahead with polyclinic roll-out

By Steve Nowottny

Plans to introduce polyclinics across the country stepped up a notch this week, as yet more PCTs committed themselves to the controversial model.

In Suffolk, PMS GPs on the frontline of PCT clawbacks have been told the area is a ‘strong contender' to receive ‘a new innovative health centre'.

Leeds and Tower Hamlets PCTs are also pressing ahead with plans, Pulse has learnt.

The moves have added to widespread fears that the Government is pushing to establish polyclinics well outside of London, despite Department of Health insiders insisting that plans in the capital should not be viewed as a national model.

At a public meeting Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of Suffolk PCT, told GPs: ‘Haverhill is a potential site for a new innovative health centre being proposed by the Government as part of Lord Darzi's review of health services. I cannot give any guarantee but Haverhill has to be a front-runner.'

Julian Herbert, deputy chief executive of Suffolk PCT told Pulse the area was a ‘strong contender' for a new health centre.

Suffolk's 46 PMS practices have been embroiled for months in an ongoing dispute with the PCT, who have warned them their contracts may be put out to tender if they do not sign a new agree-ment.

Dr Ross Worthington, a GP in Haverhill in Suffolk, said: ‘They say: "We're not cutting services, we're redistributing funds in a fair and equitable fashion", but I argue with definition of fair and equitable because they are not prepared to listen to any facts that disagree with their party line.'

Meanwhile Leeds PCT has announced its plans to introduce a number of polyclinics.

Its Interim Estates Strategy, discussed at a board meeting last month, confirmed ‘we aspire to introduce the polyclinic model; the exact number is dependant on demand.'

It comes as Tower Hamlets PCT opened a new £12 million health centre on the Isle of Dogs.

The new centre contains dentists, mental health staff and diagnostics, as well as a ‘networked' GP practice, and was described by the PCT as a polyclinic ‘in a nutshell.'

Health Minister and polyclinic pioneer Lord Ara Darzi Health Minister and polyclinic pioneer Lord Ara Darzi

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