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Average GP practices “match polyclinics for services”

2 March 2009

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A new study has revealed “very little difference” in the volume and range of extra services provided by average-sized GP practices compared with the newer polyclinics.

Some 384 practices across 14 PCTs in England took part in the observational study, which has been published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Although the results showed that practices under the average size of 6,330 patients do take on fewer services, the study concluded there was “very little difference in service provision” between current average-sized practices and super surgeries catering for upwards of 30,000 patients.

The study was undertaken by researcher Claire Morgan and Dr Hendrik Beerstecher, who runs a GP practice for approximately 1,900 patients in Sittingbourne, Kent.

Dr Beerstecher commented: “We were looking to see if the larger practices would free up resources. The idea behind the polyclinics is that they would take on hospital work and reduce the cost of the NHS overall. We wanted to see if there was extra capacity in larger practices to do this.”

He added: “I can’t see the rationale behind creating very large practices. Taxpayers’ money is being spent on doing these projects and I don’t know if it will be value for money.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Journal of General Practice