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New clinic will be 'unethical'

PUBLISHED: 18:33 06 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 11 August 2010

DAGENHAM S new polyclinic was set up in an underhand way and will steal patients from other surgeries, according to a GP. The new health centre in Porters Avenue is yet to open but one doctor is gravely concerned about the affect it will have on other pra

DAGENHAM'S new polyclinic was set up in an underhand way and will steal patients from other surgeries, according to a GP.

The new health centre in Porters Avenue is yet to open but one doctor is gravely concerned about the affect it will have on other practices.

Dr Saibal De, a GP at Gables Surgery in Markyate Road, has called polyclinics' operational techniques "completely unethical", saying they "poach" patients.

He told the POST: "Polyclinics poach patients from their doctors by getting them to sign up when they go in for a procedure.

"It isn't illegal but it is completely unethical.

"Our surgery will not remain a viable business if we lose patients."

By speaking out Dr De hopes to raise awareness of how the public feels about polyclinics.

He has slammed the government for forcing polyclinics on communities where he says they are not wanted or even necessary.

Dr De said: "They have been on the Labour agenda for the last few years.

"But a proper consultation is supposed to be carried out before polyclinics are set up. In Dagenham's case that was not done.

"Labour claim polyclinics benefit the community. But in reality evidence has shown that patients do not really want them.

"As long as people get a clean, safe and competent service they don't mind going to hospital for procedures they can't get with their GP."

Chairwoman of the patient participation group at Gables Surgery, Jan Farrell, said: "People are happy with the services they get from their GPs.

"We had a meeting to discuss our concerns with Jon Cruddas but he couldn't make it.

"Labour has been singing the praises of these polyclinics for too long."

However Barking and Dagenham NHS have defended their actions saying that the new clinic is not a polyclinic but a health centre.

Dr De added: "I want to make the government stop and think. The stand will be mostly a symbolic one.

"But perhaps we can delay the polyclinic by forcing them to go back and carry out the proper consultation."

An NHS Barking and Dagenham spokeswoman said: "Porters Avenue was not planned as a polyclinic.

"It is a health centre that mainly provides services for people with long-term conditions in addition to GP services.

"However, NHS London has acknowledged that the centre does offer some of the services that would be provided by a polyclinic.

"The PCT carried out a 14-week public consultation exercise (the required statutory period is 12 weeks), ending in January 2006.


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