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Fury as axe looks set to fall on a dozen GP practices

PUBLISHED: 14:33 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:06 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton TWELVE GP practices in West Haringey have been earmarked for closure when the polyclinic opens at Hornsey Hospital next year, sparking fears that the elderly and infirm will have to travel further to see a doctor. Haringey Teaching Primar

Charlotte Newton

TWELVE GP practices in West Haringey have been earmarked for closure when the polyclinic opens at Hornsey Hospital next year, sparking fears that the elderly and infirm will have to travel further to see a doctor.

Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust (TPCT) published its long-awaited draft consultation on its 10-year strategy for primary health care this week.

And if the proposals, which were discussed at a meeting yesterday afternoon, are agreed, west Haringey will have one polyclinic in Hornsey Hospital, which the TPCT has renamed as a "neighbourhood clinic". It will also have just three GP practices - in Muswell Hill, Highgate and Stroud Green.

Residents have reacted angrily to the news that 12 GP surgeries in West Haringey and 40 of the borough's 60 practices could close.

Janet Shapiro, of Connaught Gardens, Muswell Hill said: "Does this really mean that the TPCT will blot out 12 GP practices in west Haringey?

"Why should patients lose these sites? There are no good health reasons why they should be reduced. I was appalled when I saw the plan and am absolutely opposed."

Dave Morris, Secretary of Stop Haringey Health Cuts Coalition, said: "Now is the time for all those who care about our health services to defend our neighbourhood-based facilities and to speak out against cuts and privatisation.

"These proposals are possibly the biggest and most controversial proposed changes ever made to our health services. Now is the time to speak out."

Under the plans, the polyclinic would be a "one stop shop" where patients could receive treatment for a range of ailments under one roof - such as MRI scans, blood tests and speech therapy for children.

The TPCT has also indicated that some GPs from practices which are closing, could be moved into the polyclinic.

Haringey TPCT has argued that this will cut the number of people who have to travel to hospital and should improve health care in the borough. At the moment life expectancy in the east - where four of the polyclinics could be - is eight years lower than in the west (70 for men, compared to 78).

In a joint statement Tracey Baldwin, Chief Executive of Haringey PCT and Richard Sumray, Chair of Haringey PCT said: "We want to be very clear that this strategy is not about reducing the number of GP practices we have or cutting costs. It is about investing in primary care and supporting our GPs to offer the best services we can. Over the next three years we will be investing an additional £8million in out of hospital services to do this."

Four polyclinics have been proposed in east Haringey for Lordship Lane, north East Tottenham; in the Laurels and Tynemouth Road, both south East Tottenham; and Wood Green or Turnpike Lane, serving Central Haringey.

charlotte.newton@hamhigh.co.uk


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