Polyclinic plan gets the go-ahead

POLYCLINICS and the demise of the single GP practice were discussed at the council Assembly meeting last week. It was agreed by most members that small surgeries were no longer equipped to provide the diverse services required. Councillor Marie West gave

POLYCLINICS and the demise of the single GP practice were discussed at the council Assembly meeting last week.

It was agreed by most members that small surgeries were no longer equipped to provide the diverse services required.

Councillor Marie West gave a report on the final findings on GP services by the health scrutiny board which favoured the "hub and spoke" model of healthcare.

The "hub" is a large health centre that houses a smaller GP practice and would serve up to 10,000 patients.


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Cllr West said: "We went out into the community and though the subject is vast I believe we have made terrific progress.

"Residents in this borough are still concerned about their GP's services and what they can and cannot provide.

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"Families should not have to travel to the other side of the borough for healthcare."

However there has been some opposition to polyclinics from GPs with smaller surgeries who believe the larger health centres will drive them out of business.

In last week's POST we reported that Dr Saibal De, from The Gables surgery in Markyate Road, was worried the new Porters Avenue health centre would "poach" patients.

Dr De said: "This support for polyclinics is going to put me and other GPs out of business.

"I am not the only doctor who feels this way. Many others are worried too.

"The council say they have consulted residents but none of my patients were consulted. They have a petition to stop polyclinics with 3,000 names."

Problems experienced by patients such as waiting times, opening hours and access to minor procedures such as X-ray and ultrasound were also discussed by the Assembly.

It was felt that polyclinics, such as the one in Broadway, Barking, or large "hub" clinics are the answer.

The new Barking Hospital development, due to open in 2011, will offer a range of services families did not previously have access to unless they travelled out of the borough.

On April 1 the Assembly agreed the health scrutiny panel's recommendations.

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