Doctor slams plans to close 12 GP practices
By Tan Parsons HEALTH proposals that could see 12 GP practices disappear across West Haringey were slammed by doctors and council bosses this week as opposition grew. Protestors flocked to Haringey s civic centre in Wood Green to make their feelings clear
By Tan Parsons
HEALTH proposals that could see 12 GP practices disappear across West Haringey were slammed by doctors and council bosses this week as opposition grew.
Protestors flocked to Haringey's civic centre in Wood Green to make their feelings clear about the 10-year primary care strategy set out by Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust last month.
If agreed, the proposals will leave West Haringey with one polyclinic in Hornsey Hospital and just three GP practices - in Muswell Hill, Highgate and Stroud Green.
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The polyclinic would be a one-stop shop where patients could receive treatment for a range of ailments under one roof - including MRI scans, blood tests and speech therapy for children.
Speaking at the council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, Dave Morris, the secretary of the Stop Haringey Health Cuts Coalition, said: "These dramatic plans involving the closure of the vast majority of GP surgeries in the borough have been bulldozed through with no consultation, are highly unpopular and are being imposed against the wishes and interests of local residents.
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"This is probably the biggest, most radical, controversial and risky proposal ever suggested for our health services since the formation of the NHS 60 years ago."
Dr Helen Pelendrides is a GP at the Evergreen House Surgery in Wood Green, which is under threat from the proposals. She told the committee that generations of specialist care could be lost.
"I work in a practice established from scratch 33 years ago by Dr Pelendrides senior, who still works in it. We speak Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian, so our patients can be understood by clinical and administration staff alike.
"Our patients are becoming increasingly concerned since the publication of the PCT's Primary Care Strategy that our family-centred GP practice will disappear and that they will be offered medical services in a large impersonal polyclinic where continuity of care will not exist. It's hard for most people to understand that there has not yet been any formal consultation with local GPs."
The council has now set out a three-pronged action plan to further consult the public over the proposals. This will involve publishing an article in its Haringey People magazine explaining what the changes will mean, organising a surgery where the public can feed back their concerns, and setting up a one-off conference for all the GPs in the borough to come together and have their say.
Speaking after the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor for Crouch End David Winskill said: "People have been given no opportunity to have a say about these proposals.
"We felt the strategy has far too much concentration on shifting GPs into polyclinics rather than focusing on the other services that would be provided in polyclinics such as dentistry.
"Local people have been contacting us with real concerns. They don't want to have their family practice GP moved into a hospital. They are worried about the prospect of longer journey times, the lack of continuity of care and they have other concerns about accessibility.
"We want people to understand the implications of what the PCT is proposing and we want to give them a voice to tell the PCT what their worries are and also what they think is good about the strategy. And we want the PCT to listen.