Fate of GPs and pharmacies appears to be sealed

HARINGEY is going to lose at least 37 GP practices, according to a report presented to the Primary Care Trust s board meeting on January 30. It will affect almost everyone in the borough. Currently Haringey has 59 GP practices and 55 chemists, and they al

HARINGEY is going to lose at least 37 GP practices, according to a report presented to the Primary Care Trust's board meeting on January 30. It will affect almost everyone in the borough.

Currently Haringey has 59 GP practices and 55 chemists, and they all provide a vital service no matter their size or location. Doctors and chemists have a symbiotic relationship, neither one can function optimally in the community without the other - nor can we.

Unlike many London boroughs, a large number of Haringey's chemists, 43, are single-handed contractors.

Our chemists are already under serious pressure from a liberalised market and are going to lose their link to GPs. But the PCT has set them a tough challenge - either they combine as best they can in operating costly and time-consuming syndicates to run the pharmacies at the proposed four polyclinics, or else see them taken over by third party providers.


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If the PCT approves its 'care strategy' at its board meeting in May, it envisages 'a greatly reduced number of general practices. The PCT is developing criteria to select the GP practices that will remain, to include: minimum list size; standard of premises; standards of quality and care; ability to work within a networked model; ability to offer extended opening hours; and location.

The report, Primary Care Strategy - Next Steps, states: ''The intention remains to significantly reduce the number of small GP practices (ie with less than 4,000 patients) over time and phase out sub-standard premises'.

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As 37 of Haringey's 59 GP practices have list sizes of less than 4,000 patients, it seems their fate is sealed.

And with the PCT acquiring in May the power to interpret the criteria to suit its own ends - to get everyone except the rich to new polyclinics - the fate of GP practices with patient lists over 4,000 also seems to be in serious jeopardy.

MARIO PETROU

Chair, Save St Ann's Hospital Campaign Group, N15

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