A patients group has voiced its concerns over commercially-run polyclinics, which it says will put older people and those with chronic conditions at risk.
The BMA’s Patient Liasion Group (PLG) made the announcement as it launched a new advert against the proposals, timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the birth of NHS general practice.
“New government plans for England to create commercially run polyclinics and/or health centres, regardless of local need, could affect our local surgeries and put current patient services at risk,” PLG members Juliet Dunmur and Natalie Teich said in the advert.
“We, as patients, are extremely concerned that these plans will lead to a decline in the quality of patient care. We are concerned that older people, those less able, and those with long-term conditions will be most adversely affected.”
They claimed that proper consultation had not taken place, and concluded the move would lead to a decline in the quality of patient care in England.
The advert appears in The House Magazine, which is sent to all MPs. It calls on them to speak to their local primary care trusts about plans to establish polyclinics or health centres in their constituency.
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“Polyclinics will most certainly lead to a decline in the quality of patient care in England (Wales and Scotland being used as the exempt ‘control group’ in this social experiment). When I visit my GP we share a good working relationship; he knows me, he knows my family, he knows the context of my life in a way that a health centre GP cannot. All of that is relevant to the advice given. But this is not about GP care of patients. These medical centres are being imposed, despite Lord Darzi’s assertions to the contrary, from the Dept of Health in order to put clinic space into communities so that acute trusts can shovel patients with chronic conditions onto GPs. This is a ‘dumming down’ of patient care and a lowering of the standard currently in place. Chronic patients need expert consultants just as much as acute patients. By the time the public wake up, it will be too late. So why isn’t the BMA issuing a legal challenge to these proposals as we did with the Fudge case and ISTCs last year? Patients and public have a right to be consulted from the very earliest time and indeed, at the proposal stage according to Section 242 of the Health Act” – Barbara Harris, South Gloucestershire