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Polyclinics are about cutting costs

Professor Sir Ara Darzi's proposal for GP surgeries to become polyclinics is not about quality; it's about cost-cutting at patients' expense. Continuity and personal care is what patients seek.

This proposal would destroy the very bedrock of general practice. Further, this ill-thought-out initiative could totally destabilise primary as well as secondary care in the NHS to the ultimate benefit of private companies.

What is more, the announcement of another major review of the NHS will cheer nobody within the service.It's dishonest of the Government to dress up the proposal as providing 'convenient and timely care' for patients.

I suspect many doctors feel the Government, for reasons of economics, wishes GPs to undertake more services previously performed in hospital so as to widen the opportunities for piecemeal private health provision and because it has little regard for much of the core general practice that patients value so highly.

We are told patients want care closer to home, but at what cost? We can and should improve in some centres to match the high standards of the best, but the claims of some of the tsars at the Department of Health are frankly ridiculous. Do we really want hernias operated on in every GP surgery? I certainly hope not.

This is not good use of GPs' time. Let GPs concentrate on what patients need them for. Surgery should be carried out by surgeons in a properly equipped hospital. If there are economies to be made, the right approach would be to concentrate on the enormous scope for improving the efficiency of minor surgery in that setting.

Moreover, the loss of millions of minor operations will have a huge effect on the training of young surgeons, who cut their teeth on these cases under experienced supervision.This is all a recipe for turbulence, in a profession with rock-bottom morale caused by so many politically initiated changes in the past decade.

This review is totally unnecessary and should be stopped in its tracks by Gordon Brown. The profession is change-fatigued and needs stability.

From Dr Kailash Chand, Ashton-under-Lyme, Lancashire

Dishonest to dress up the Polyclinc proposals as anything other than a cost-cutting measure Dr Kailash Chand

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