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Polyclinics plans will suffer £1.4bn shortfall, Tories claim

16 June 2008

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The government’s polyclinics plans will result in a £1.4bn “black hole” in public finances unless other GP surgeries are to close, the Conservatives have claimed.

The Tories said that if 271 new clinics were staffed with 25 GPs each, staffing and overheads alone would be £1.66bn a year. Labour has only provided £250m in extra funding for the programme, the party said.

But the government hit back at the claims, and said the Tories had either misunderstood or were deliberately misrepresenting what was happening.

“There are no plans to impose so-called polyclinics,” said health minister Ben Bradshaw. “The GP-led health centres – one in every primary care trust area – are in addition to existing services and people will be able to use them while remaining registered with their own GP.

“The Tories are making a big error in siding with the British Medical Association leadership in their mendacious and misleading campaign against better GP services and extended opening.

“The Labour Government will remain on the public’s side – delivering what they want in better and easier to access primary care services and in the end the public will make a judgment.”

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Department of Health