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Trusts jump gun on polyclinic presentations

By Steve Nowottny

Two north London trusts have already drawn up and presented plans for the capital's first polyclinic, even though public consultation on the controversial project does not end until later this week, Pulse has learned.

University College London Hospital and Camden PCT gave a joint presentation outlining how the polyclinic will work to an NHS Confederation conference last month.

Likely to be based at University College Hospital's A&E department, the polyclinic will be developed under the controversial ‘co-located model', with several practices housed under one roof. Pulse understands at least five practices in the surrounding area have already been approached.

The presentation emphasises the benefits the new polyclinic will bring, including ‘economies of scale' from ‘shared front and back offices'. But it also cautions against ‘secondary care creep', warning that ‘some physical separation' with A&E may be required.

UCLH has long been seen as the likely site of the first of the new breed of post-Darzi polyclinics, with chief executive Robert Naylor last October saying he wanted to be ‘first at the trough.'

Dr Stephen Amiel, chair of Camden and Islington LMC, claimed Camden PCT was planning a total of five polyclinics, including one at UCLH and one at the Royal Free. But he said practices had been ‘arm-twisted' to get involved. ‘Practices have been very strongly encouraged - some if not all of them have felt that they had no choice.'

A spokesman for UCLH insisted the presentation contained ‘nothing new', but admitted publishing the NHS Confederation presentation ‘was a mistake'. The document was immediately removed from the NHS Confederation website.

‘We're certainly not definitely going ahead,' he said. Camden PCT was unavailable for comment.

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