Video: Don't Super Size Us
By CATHERINE ATKINSON DOCTORS and patients across East Cambridgeshire have spoken out against Government plans to create centralised super-size clinics. GPs are concerned that plans to create urban polyclinics - larger surgeries staffed by doctors and sp
By CATHERINE ATKINSON
DOCTORS and patients across East Cambridgeshire have spoken out against Government plans to create centralised super-size clinics.
GPs are concerned that plans to create urban polyclinics - larger surgeries staffed by doctors and specialists - will lead to the abolition of thousands of local family practices across the UK.
If the proposals get the go-ahead later this year, the elderly and long-term infirm could in some cases be forced to make lengthy journeys to surgeries, and there will be no guarantee of access to the same GP throughout any treatment.
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A central Ely polyclinic could be forced to cater for thousands of extra patients from as far away as Littleport, Little Downham and Sutton.
The Conservative Party, which is against the idea, claims that no extra funding will be found to pay for the new NHS facilities.
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Surgeries in Ely Soham and Littleport have organised petitions to protest against the plans, which they say are imposed from above and inappropriate for rural East Cambridgeshire.
In just two weeks, doctors at St Mary's Surgery in Ely received 1,084 signatures on a 'Save Our Surgeries' petition, which equates to almost 10 per cent of the total number of patients at the practice.
Jim Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, accepted the petition on Friday, which will then be handed to the government.
Soham Staploe Medical Centre, received 778 votes of support for the national campaign, which is co-ordinated by the British Medical Association, and 100 people signed the Littleport St George's Medical Centre petition in just one day.
It is hoped the petition, co-ordinated by the British Medical Association to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the NHS, will influence health minister Lord Darzi's final report into the state of free healthcare in the UK, due at the beginning of July.
Mr Paice told the Ely Standard on Friday: "We want the Government to drop the compulsory element. Each primary care trust has been instructed to develop a polyclinic, which were originally proposed for inner cities and are totally inappropriate for this area. The major losers in this situation will be the elderly and incapacitated. They use the NHS the most and are going to find it difficult to find transport, and will have to repeat their medical history every time they see a new doctor."
"If it isn't broken, don't fix it, added Dr Dee McCormack of the St Mary's Surgery. "The system is working well, so why change it? Patients were unaware of the situation until now, and are very upset that their local practice that is under threat." She agreed with Mr Paice that the elderly and longer-term ill patients would suffer the most.
"For those patients in particular, continuity of care is essential," she added.
The British Medical Association, which represents doctors and medical students in the UK, is opposed to what it terms "the headlong rush into polyclinics or health centres that is a current feature of primary care trust [PCT] activity all over the country."
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire PCT said there were no imminent plans to create a polyclinic in Ely itself.
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