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Gold, incentives and meh

Plans for GP clinics for commuters

Ministers will unveil plans to create a network of walk-in GP clinics at major transport hubs as the centrepiece of a new five-year plan for the NHS, Pulse can reveal.

The Government will argue the move, set to be announ-ced this week, is necessary to improve access to NHS services for six million commuters.

Initial proposals to tackle the issue by allowing patients to register with a GP practice close to their work as well as their home have been ditched as unworkable.

The walk-in clinics will be free to patients, but primary care organisations will be able to commission private pro-viders to run the service.

It is understood that GPs working at the clinics will

e-mail details of the consultation and any treatment to the patient's home practice.

GPs argued there were not enough doctors to work

in the clinics and the NHS

IT infrastructure could not cope.

Dr Anthony Welch, joint chief executive of Surrey and Sussex LMCs, said: 'Anything that further fragments care for patients is going to be bad. They are taking away funding for GP training and then they want to bring in this.'

•Health minister John Hutton has revealed the Government is to invest extra money in GP premises. Speaking at an NHS Alliance conference, he added he was unable at this stage to say how much.

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