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Friday 28th October 2016

The polyclinic debate rages

13th June 2008

Even before the dust has settled on the great hospital debate, it is now hotting up on the subject of polyclinics; yet both are linked.

The great hospital debate poses the question of whether it is better to have fewer, larger hospitals or lots of smaller district general facilities as has traditionally been the norm. The argument that specialist acute services should be centralised has largely been won though there are still pockets of resistance where people still believe they should have everything on their doorstep.

The quid pro quo in the great hospital debate is that services that do not need to be centralised in a great big hospital some distance away should be provided "closer to home" to use the NHS vernacular. But not every GP practice can justify its own diagnostic and treatment centre so here again the great debate is being played out but on a more local scale. In other words, specialist local services should be centralised into bigger extended health centres - or polyclinics.

But does this mark the downgrading of primary care or is it in fact the long promised decentralisation of general hospital services?

As we travel the "huge" distance to our local polyclinic we need to ask ourselves where we would have had to go to before. I suspect the answer is our local hospital, even further away, and not our GP.


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