Home > big state, healthcare, things could be so much better > SuperClinics too popular. NHS response? Shut them down!

SuperClinics too popular. NHS response? Shut them down!

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There is a story in this evening’s London Standard that I had to read twice to check that I had understood it the first time.

Superclinics introduced by the previous government could be phased out because they are proving too expensive for health authorities.

The GP-led health centres are said to be running up bills of up to £300,000 a year each.

This would seem fair enough as it stands – in the current economic climate it would be mad to permit such overspends to continue. However, there’s a twist! 

A spokesman said: “As is the case with many other GP-led health centres in other PCTs, the huge popularity of the centre with local people plus the utilisation of the facility by high numbers of non-registered patients, who were all exercising patient choice, far exceeded the predictions made by the commissioners.”

Okay, so what actually happened is that the ‘commissioners’ completely underestimated the popularity of these superclinics. What’s been so popular about these superclinics? Seven days a week, 8am-8pm opening? Walk-in clinics with no need for a prior appointment? No need to pre-register? Sounds horrendous – can’t see any of that taking off…

And so, we come to the denouement of the piece, which is quite breath-taking:

Duncan Stroud, Associate Director of Communications and Engagement at the trust, said: “The majority of patients who have been using the centres could quite easily have used another service.

“They were mainly patients who hadn’t registered with a GP or hadn’t made an appointment. They basically created a demand which wasn’t there before.”

So, in essence, people wanting GP services in London should take what their Lords & Masters give them, and should in no way expect the NHS to actually change to fit their needs. There are lots of existing services – use them and be grateful!

This demonstrates yet again that the NHS is simply not ‘fit for purpose’ and desperately needs major reform. I won’t, however, hold my breath…

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