GP's warning - act now or health system will perish

PUBLISHED: 12:59 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:26 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton NURSES could outnumber GPs by three to one if plans to create five new polyclinics in the borough get the go-ahead, a Haringey doctor has warned. Dr Helen Pelendrides of the Evergreen House surgery in Wood Green warned residents at a publ

Charlotte Newton

NURSES could outnumber GPs by three to one if plans to create five new polyclinics in the borough get the go-ahead, a Haringey doctor has warned.

Dr Helen Pelendrides of the Evergreen House surgery in Wood Green warned residents at a public meeting in Muswell Hill that she had grave concerns about the proposals.

"The staffing of the hubs will be very different from what Haringey patients are used to," she said. "The latest instruction from the Department of Health is that nurses will outnumber GPs by three to one."

Dr Pelendrides also revealed at the meeting in St Andrew's Church Hall on Monday night that despite Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust's (TPCT) claim that its 10-year health strategy had been clinician-led, her surgery had not been informed of the plans.

She said: "I understand that there will be consultation with each GP practice - for the first time. Even though the strategy is already at an advanced stage and proudly claims to be clinically led, the Evergreen practice has yet to be consulted."

Dr Pelendrides warned polyclinics may serve the young and healthy but GP practices will be forced to close if young patients "drift off" to the new centres.

She said: "We are witnessing plans for the wholesale destruction of general practice as we know it. I suggest those who care, act now."

Colin Leys, professor of political sciences, who lives in Bounds Green, also argued that Haringey TPCT's plans to introduce five polyclinics and close 45 of the 60 GP practices in the borough had not been led by patients or clinicians but by the government.

He said: "The Haringey strategy is not about fulfilling the vision of the people of Haringey. It is about the vision of the people behind Lord Darzi's plan - the government's plan to set up 150 polyclinics around England and cut back hard on the number of GP-run surgeries."

He accused the authors of the report, published in May, of failing to make a case for the changes it had announced. He said: "It provides no epidemiological data - nothing whatever on the distribution of illness, and therefore nothing on actual health care needs.

"It repeatedly refers to the needs of special groups, either special communities or groups with particular health problems which it says are not currently well catered for, but it gives no evidence at all about them."

Candy Udwin, chair of the Camden Keep Our NHS Public, warned of the repercussions of three GP surgeries in Camden being privatised by American firm United Health.

"They've terminated the contracts of two GPs in the Camden Road practice and closed the baby clinic. There is no place for private profit in our health service," she said.

The Haringey TPCT annual general meeting is on October 13 at West Green Learning Centre, Langham Road, from 2.30pm.

Helen Poole, head of primary care for West Haringey, will also speak at the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association meeting on October 22 at the Bowling Club in King's Avenue, Muswell Hill.

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