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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Polyclinics are the future

Sir Ara Darzi¹s healthcare for London report (Pulse news, 12 July) is proposing that polyclinics are the most practical and modern way to meet the capital¹s healthcare needs.

At present healthcare provision in London is inadequate, with a shortage of adequate premises or trained staff.

Office space is expensive ­ and even with the cost-rent scheme, finding a piece of land in London to build a surgery is impossible.

The present system leaves the GP as a gatekeeper without a gate and is inefficient, bureaucratic ­ and at times grossly incompetent.

I have seen polyclinics in other countries, where most investigative procedures are done on the premises, with the patient investigated and seen by a specialist in one visit. There are services like physiotherapy, chiropody, opticians and pharmacy in the same building.

I hope what Professor Darzi is proposing is similar, and this model could be implemented throughout the country.

GPs should consider Sir Ara's report not as a threat or an upheaval but as an important and vital reform.

The present system of primary care is outdated; it needs a radical change to meet the needs of the present day.

I welcome his proposals.

Dr Fatehali Merali Hirji, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

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