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Darzi Review of the NHS

Health Minister and surgeon Lord Ara Darzi has been tasked by

the Government to carry out a widespread review of the NHS,

both in London and nationally (England), to ensure that patients

can depend on fair distribution and quality of health services,

regardless of personal circumstances or where you live

One proposal generating considerable interest is the setting up

of polyclinics or supersurgeries. The Royal College of General Practitioner (RCGP) agrees that the

concept is worthy of consideration and that it has potential in

providing:

i. choice for patients

ii. a "one stop shop" for health and well-being

iii. access to a wide range of services on good

premises

For some areas of the country, this model will be welcomed by

patients and doctors and could bring great benefits. But as it

stands, the polyclinic or supersurgery idea plays down the

importance of general practice in favour of "Martini" healthcare:

any time, any place, any where - any doctor. While this approach

might suit otherwise healthy and able-bodied commuters who

rarely need to see their GP, it could be a very different story for

older patients or people with long term conditions. As proposals

for polyclinics are advanced, these concerns should be

addressed.

In many areas of the country, we believe that services can be

improved by building on the strengths of general practice. The

RCGP believes that the services provided by GPs and their

practices are essential for a quality NHS in the future because:

i. Patients want personalised care - to see a doctor

they know and who knows them

ii. Patients want healthcare close to home in the heart

of the community - preferably within walking or

pram pushing distance or on a good bus route

iii. Patients want co-ordination of care with GPs liaising

with specialists and hospitals where necessary

iv. GPs work in practice teams able to deal with multiple

conditions at one time and integrate different types of

care for patients

v. GPs provide aftercare for patients discharged from

hospital

vi. GPs provide lifelong care and never discharge

patients

vii. Prevention can be better than cure - GPs work hard

to prevent conditions such as strokes and heart attacks

We are concerned that polyclinics could bring about the end of

the unique relationship between patient and GP; that patients

could be treated as numbers rather than individuals and that

continuity of care will break down.

We also have concerns that polyclinics could be set up in, and

run by, existing hospitals and used as another means of

generating income for the hospital trust. More worryingly, it could

mean that many patients would need to travel further to access

care and many patients, particularly older people and some

vulnerable groups, worry about going to hospitals for a variety of

reasons including the fear of contracting infections such as

MRSA.

What is the RCGP doing?

We believe that our new model of caring for patients - the

federated model - is the best solution for delivering better care for

patients whilst providing all the benefits of polyclinics or

supersurgeries.

What is the federated model?

This involves different GP practices working together in

"federations" or collaborations to deliver a wider range of

quality healthcare services where patients want them - closer to

home - by healthcare professionals they know and trust.

GP teams would be able to provide a wider range of services in

the community and the majority of health problems, including

mental health, would be dealt with by family doctors. GPs would

also have greater access to scans and x-rays, meaning patients

would be sent to hospital only as a last resort. GPs could also

work closely with specialists in the same way as is being

suggested for polyclinics.

Further details are available on our website at

www.rcgp.org.uk/roadmap

GP federations are already working successfully in numerous

areas around the country and making a real difference to

patients' lives - but we want this to become widespread. The

NHS Review should lead to improved services and better care

for patients. GPs and practices want to be central to NHS

improvements and to ensure that new models of care meet the

needs of patients and communities.

We are making our views known to Lord Darzi and the

Government but you can also have your say on the “Our NHS”

website:-

Our NHS Questionaire

Together we can change the NHS for the better.

The RCGP and Lord Darzi’s Review of the NHS

 



 
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