15 January 2009
ARE SUPER-CENTRES, like supermarkets, the way forward for our health service? And like the chain store giants, will it mean more things in one place, but ultimately less choice for the user?
A document obtained by this paper this week reveals that Southwark’s Primary Care Trust is considering a complete overhaul of its health care programme, which could see four ‘super-centres’, in Canada Water, Peckham, Elephant & Castle and Dulwich. They would offer out-of-hospital services from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
The Primary Care Trust (PCT) refused to comment on the document, stating that it would wait for consultation to get going - although it is also claimed that these proposed changes come on the back of extensive consultation, in which Southwark residents called for better access to GPs.
So far, so good. The problem is whether the PCT intends to replace existing GP practices with the super-centres. Our inquiries to that effect were left unanswered.
All this comes at a time when ‘consultation’ on the new Dulwich Hospital is set to begin - once again delayed this week. If this debacle is anything to go by, then all those who use GP practices need to ensure their voice is heard in the forthcoming super-centre consultation. For, in spite of many assurances that in-patient beds would remain, the new Dulwich ‘hospital’ actually won’t have a single bed.
GP practices beware.
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