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'Scrap Darzi centres and NHS Direct' says BMA

By Ian Quinn

The BMA has launched a major bid to kill off costly services such as Darzi centres and walk-in centres, claiming the services are wasting millions and staff are 'sitting idle for parts of the day'.

With GPs set to be put in charge of the vast majority of PCT commissioning budgets, a motion at the ARM was overwhelmingly passed deploring the huge resources being thrown at both the £1m a year GP-led health centres in every PCT as well as a raft of bigger polyclinics, such as those already opened in London, for which it said there was no evidence of cost-effectiveness.

The conference also slammed the rollout of hugely under-used walk in centres, some of which were already in line for closure even under the previous Government because of their failure to be cost effective and called for an end to the funding of NHS Direct, another costly and hugely controversial Labour flagship.

Proposing the motion, GPC negotiator, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said some staff at GP-led health centres had little to do some days than sit around reading the papers because they had been located so close to each other and to existing GP practices.

He said: 'This is not just madness, its scandalous, irresponsible profligacy to have these resources duplicating each other, independent of each other and with some staff sitting idle for parts of the day.

'We must end this shameful misuse of NHS resources.'

Describing the policies as 'bankrupt' he said he was hopeful the secretary of state, who arrives to face the conference on Wednesday, would put a halt to any further expansion, having already called for any major reconfigurations to have GP backing.

Darzi centre providers strongly denied Dr Nagpaul's claims. Peter Watts, chief executive of The Practice, said: 'Patients appear to be voting with their feet. What the BMA is saying couldn't be further from the truth.'

Call to scrap Darzi centres and NHS Direct

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