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Bradshaw defends polyclinic plan

11 June 2008

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The government has rejected Lib Dem criticism of its plans for GP practices as Nick Clegg’s party calls for greater local involvement in decision making.

The Lib Dem leader (pictured) said the plan on whether to have NHS polyclinics in regions across the country should be made by directly-elected local health boards.

He made the point that GP-led health centres may be good for many people in some communities but that the case is less clear for others, particularly in rural areas.

He said the decision to have one should be made by those who know best whether it is required, how it should be coordinated and what services it should provide.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw underlined the government’s commitment to investment in family doctor services on a visit to a newly opened GP health centre in Kirkby-in-Ashfield near Nottingham.

He said: “There has been a lot of irresponsible scare-mongering over recent months that the government is planning to close local GP surgeries and replace them with larger centralised health centres. Patients tell us that access to GP services is a real issue, so primary care services need to adapt to respond to this need.”

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