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Two more Darzi centres set to close

By Gareth Iacobucci

Two more of Lord Darzi's GP-led health centres face closure, after NHS bosses claimed they had created 'false additional demand'.

NHS Haringey has decided to consult on the closure of its two Darzi centres as part of a package of cuts designed to tackle its projected end-of-year deficit of £25m.

PCT bosses said the centres had created excess demand from patients, and said the services being provided could be met by GP practices providing extended hours.

It follows a recent Pulse investigation which found that PCTs across England have begun renegotiating dozens of Darzi centre contracts awarded under the previous government's controversial Equitable Access to Primary Care scheme in a bid to make cost savings.

NHS Haringey acknowledged that removing the two centres risked increasing A&E activity, but said this would be ‘mitigated by [the] development of urgent care centres', and predicted that the closures would save £666,000.

A spokesman for NHS Haringey said: ‘As a result of our evaluation we have found that the majority of people attending did so with minor illness, [and] could have been attended to at the general practices where they were registered, [and] the GP led health centre had created additional access points and to a small extent false additional demand.

‘We want to ensure that we provide services that are responsive and meet the needs of the population of Haringey and we need to review this service in terms of our strategy regarding unplanned care as well as affordability.'

Last month a GP-led health centre in Stockport, Greater Manchester became the first to close its doors.

How times have changed

2008
'This is a welcome development for Haringey representing a positive addition to the current high quality primary care services in the area and recognition of the quality of these local GPs.'

James Slater, director of primary care at NHS Haringey

2010
'We want to ensure that we provide services that are responsive and meet the needs of the population of Haringey and we need to review this service in terms of our strategy regarding unplanned care as well as affordability.'

NHS Haringey spokesperson

The Laurels Health Centre is one of the GP-led health centres under review

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