Thousands of patients and GPs petition against polyclinics
By Steve Nowottny
More than 2,000 GPs, practice managers and patients have appealed directly to the Prime Minister to scrap controversial plans for polyclinics and extended opening hours.
But Healthcare for London this week pushed ahead with its own plans for polyclinics, unveiling its Clinical Advisory Group which will play a key role in this year's shake-up of the capital's healthcare.
The petition, set up on the Number 10 Downing Street website by Dr Chris Jenkins, a GP in Stockwell in south London, demands the Government ‘abandon plans to create polyclinics and extended opening hours for GP surgeries and concentrate on maintaining good general practice and local district general hospital services.'
At the time of going to press the petition had received 2,435 signatures. By contrast, a similar petition calling for GP' working hours to be increased had attracted just six supporters.
Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, which has previously criticised the model, declined to back the petition, but said ‘we are very happy for colleagues to express these sorts of views.'
‘Our role I think is much more to do with service provision and the future of general practice than getting into the broader politics of an idea,' he said. ‘But the more genuine traffic that ministers and councillors and MPs hear from different sources, the more likely they might be to actually listen rather than just drive their own agenda.'
Meanwhile 32 clinicians – including 3 GPs – have been appointed as ‘clinical champions' to help lead the Healthcare for London review.
Dr Tom Coffey, a GP in Wandsworth, Dr Deborah Colvin, a GP in Hackney, and Dr Marilyn Plant, a GP in Richmond will provide clinical expertise and primary care input.