What's a polyclinic?

Main meeting of the day was with Richard Sumray, Chair of Haringey Primary Care Trust (PCT). For me the key question was around the proposals for Hornsey Hospital which has now become part of the wider Primary Health Care Strategy. This strategy proposes (and is part of the London-wide strategy as well) something like six polyclinics in Haringey.

Hey – what’s this poly thingamajig – I hear you say. Well – it’s a sort of community hospital without beds – i.e. it’s a super, duper, all singing all dancing health facility with clinics for various things like diabetes, services like chiropody, diagnostics and the kitchen sink. I say that – because the array of services proposed for Hornsey Hospital is yet to be consulted on and we hope (despite our experience – so hope against hope) that the services can accommodate what local people want not simply that which is prescribed by the PCT.

There is some confusion around consultation because there is a consultation by the Enfield Haringey Health Trust on the local Primary Care Strategy – which is really with health stakeholders etc and then there is also to be a consultation on Hornsey Hospital itself.

The polyclinics really come up in the Primary Care consultation – and this may contain the key issue which I believe is what loss will there be of our local GP practices as part of the move to polyclinics? The idea is to improve local health services in these new facilities and provide some of things we are used to going to the hospital for nearer to home.

But the polyclinics will need some rental income, I believe, from GP practises based in the polyclinics. Of course – if a local GP practise moves into a polyclinic – it may mean for the ordinary person who is ill, just needs the doctor and a prescription or not without further treatment, a longer journey. That in turn raises issues of travel, access, car usage, parking and public transport connections – all very difficult.

So – on the individuality of each polyclinic – including Hornsey Hospital – Richard promised me that there would be a separate consultation – a continuance of the public meetings twice a year that we all have had on Hornsey since it was closed. I would also wish to put pressure on the consultation to demand that no area of the borough should be denuded of a local GP practice – and that any practise or doctor who wants to move in to a polyclinic ought to consult with their patient list.

The polyclinics sound great – but we have to make sure that local people have a say in what is provided and a say in what happens to their local GP practices and that there is a net gain. Perhaps local people want out of hours services, doctors that will visit in the home (which might solve some of the access issues as you don’t feel like getting on a bus when you are sick), and so on and so on.

There is so much involved in all of these changes – I have to say to people get involved, respond to the consultations. I am happy to have a spanking new facility on the Hornsey Hospital site as has been promised to me and local people for years now – but it has to deliver a great slab of what local people want and not remove the very local doctors that people rely on.

Update: you can read my article subsequent article about polyclinics here.

0 thoughts on “What's a polyclinic?

  1. Polyclinics…Great idea! Very well tested type of primary service in good, old, communist health systems. It worked very well but also seemed to be very expensive.