Letter: One-stop health centres invented 45 years ago and then forgotten

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Sir: When the Attlee government established the National Health Service ("Sainsbury's could run family doctor clinics", 15 October), local authorities were authorised to provide comprehensive health centres - eventually, it was envisaged, in every neighbourhood.

These would afford, under one roof, accommodation for doctors (in group practices), dentists, district nurses, midwives and health visitors, ante- natal, maternity and child welfare, child guidance, speech therapy clinics and other services.

The London County Council proceeded at once to design and construct two such centres. By the time the first was completed, at Woodberry Down, there had been a change of government and the opening ceremony, which I attended, was performed by the new Minister of Health, Iain MacLeod.

After the usual complimentary remarks, the minister stunned his audience by announcing that no further comprehensive health centres would be authorised by his government until the few already built had been evaluated.

It seems that after only 45 years' "evaluation", the Tories have come round to the view that one-stop primary health centres were not such a bad idea after all!



West Glamorgan