In most GP practices the buildings are crumbling and need improving. Our ability to access diagnostics such as X-rays and blood tests can also be limited, so we have to refer patients to hospitals for quite simple tests.
A lot of patients want better access to their GP, especially unscheduled care at evenings and weekends. But it's very hard for individual small practices to run surgeries 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
The care of people with long-term conditions requires a team approach. You need specialist nurses, GPs and consultants, and it needs to be a team of a sufficient size.
I'm in favour of a federated polyclinic approach, a hub-and-spoke model, because patients usually like their GP and like the fact they can walk there. But they also want better access and to see their GP out of hours as well as a team coordinating their care, so they need access to the "hub" which is the polyclinic. But they keep the "spokes", which are the local GP practices embedded in the community.
This approach allows you to have the best of both worlds. You keep your local GP practices while the hub handles diagnostics and unscheduled calls and forms a base for a team of specialists, where people can access GPs, mental health services and housing advice.
No GP, not even me, would support a single polyclinic site where all the GP practices for an area are based. You need the spokes in the community.
To have your say on this or any other issue visit www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies