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Polyclinics are grotesque edifices that are set to destroy all we hold dear

I reply to your correspondent ‘name and address supplied' (‘These regulation plans smack of socialist control').

I agree wholeheartedly with the examples cited in this letter with respect to the controlling influence this administration is exerting by stealth over the medical profession.

As I drive to my still cosy and independent surgery, my route takes me past the latest in a number of PCT-inspired PFI polyclinics – a grotesque edifice akin to an Eastern bloc health centre of the 1960s. Yet doctors seem willing to give up their premises to relocate to these centres, notwithstanding the fact that they will be at the beck and call of the PCT.

Our PCT has recently unilaterally taken over the running of our deputising out-of-hours co-operative, which has been staffed and administered by local GPs for more than 30 years in purpose-built premises. They have relocated it to – guess where – another PFI polyclinic. Did the local doctors refuse to transfer across in protest? Not on your nelly. They all transferred their affections to the PCT administration without a whimper. It was me who had to write to the local press in protest.

Via a softening process in the local press, the PCT is paving the way for an APMS polyclinic in the town centre and is currently looking for a ‘band of doctors and nurses' to show them the way. Surely all but the most naive among us must realise this is yet another subtle means of command and control.

When I started as a GP in Bolton in 1980, I had the privilege to work alongside senior colleagues, many of whom had seen active wartime or national service, who had come from all walks of life and who, being streetwise, would never have permitted the liberties that the current administration is taking with our profession.

Until ‘name and address supplied' sheds his anonymity and until the profession as a whole sheds its materialistic ‘I'm all right Jack' attitude, and draws a line in the sand, this current administration will destroy much that I have held dear during my career – especially, as your correspondent pointed out, the ability to be the patient's advocate.

From Dr IGV James, Bolton, Lancashire

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