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Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the General Medical Services budget for the next three years has been allocated to be spent on the implementation of the polyclinics recommended in Lord Darzi's review. (202133)

The Government are investing an additional £250 million to provide patients with better access to primary care services. This new investment will deliver new general practitioner (GP)-led health centres in each primary care trust (PCT) area and over one hundred new GP practices targeted at under-served area. The funding for GP-led health centres has been included in PCT revenue allocations: £45 million in 2008-09, 120 million in 2009-10 and £120 million in 2010-11. PCT allocations are deliberately not broken down into individual funding streams as it is for PCTs to decide how best to deliver these new services in view of their local circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's definition of a polyclinic is. (203397)

There is no standard definition of a polyclinic, which is why most of the debate about them is ill-informed and inaccurate. “Polyclinic” is usually a term used to describe a range of possible health service models characterised by the co-location and integration of different services, including those traditionally provided in a hospital setting.

London Strategic Health Authority has defined “polyclinic” service models that bring together a range of primary care services, specialist services, urgent care services and social care into either single centres or federated networks of care. However, this model is not being replicated across the country. Local commissioners will determine the scope and scale of these services in collaboration with their clinicians and patients to reflect local needs and circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that the polyclinic model of health service delivery does not have an adverse impact on the continuity of care for people with long-term conditions currently afforded by the doctor-patient relationship in primary care. (204745)

Patients with complex and/or multiple long-term conditions may wish to continue to see their registered general practitioner (GP). They may however, choose to register at a GP-led health centre and receive at least the same quality and continuity of care delivered by the GP and other primary care clinicians working in these facilities. Additionally, any member of the public may choose to visit a GP led health centre to see a GP or nurse and they can do this whilst still being registered with their own GP.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the decision to have a polyclinic in a primary care trust area is a decision to be made locally. (207298)

How primary care trusts (PCTs) choose to configure or commission local primary medical care services is a local matter. However, all PCTs have been asked to commission additional general practitioner (GP)-led health centre services and have been given additional funding to secure those services. Patients want and expect to receive convenient access to GP services wherever they are. Therefore, providing locally accessible and convenient GP-led services from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days per week will help to ensure this is possible. PCTs will decide after local consultation where and how these services should be provided and will carry out an open and fair procurement to secure the services they specify.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued to primary care trusts and doctors on developing proposals for polyclinics; and if he will make a statement. (207340)

The Government do not have a polyclinic policy. We are asking the local national health service to develop new general practitioner (GP)-led health centres for local communities. This does not mean applying the specific proposals for a polyclinic model of care on which the NHS in London has recently been consulting.

As part of our £250 million investment to improve access to primary medical care services, we have issued guidance to primary care trusts on how to complete open and fair local procurements to secure new GP practices and GP-led health centres. These are available on the Departments website at:


To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he has a (a) timetable for the establishment of and (b) target for the number of polyclinics in London; and if he will make a statement; (207351)

(2) what polyclinics (a) have been established in and (b) are planned for (i) Greater London and (ii) the south-east; and if he will make a statement.

The organisation of health services is a matter for the national health service at local level. The hon. Member may wish to direct his question to the relevant primary care trust or strategic health authority.