National survey raises polyclinic fears

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The last poll on Audlem Online asking: "Do you think it's important for Audlem to retain its own GP practice?" attracted 522 votes with 487, or 93%, saying 'Yes', a ringing endorsement for the retention of a local GP service. 5% said 'No and 2% were unsure.

Despite the overwhelming support for retaining a local practice, reports in the national press indicate that large polyclinics may be imposed on towns and villages across England without local consultation.

While Government ministers say that plans for 300 polyclinics, housing up to 25 GPs each, will be agreed through local consultation, around half of the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) who responded to a survey, say they will not consult on plans to build the centres. Curiously, they argue that not consulting is the advice they have received from the Department of Health! Every PCT is expected to have at least one polyclinic in its area.

While there may be no immediate threat to the Audlem Medical Practice, the local GPs were concerned enough to publicise their concerns on Audlem Online and welcomed the Vote Poll that was run on the website. Hundreds in Audlem and district also signed the petition that was presented to 10 Downing Street and which attracted over a million signatures nationally.

It will be interesting to hear whether the local Primary Care Trust is planning to consult on this vital issue. The Trust's management will, in the meantime, be interested to hear that 93% of those voting in Audlem were in favour of retaining a local GP service in the village. That seems a pretty clear indication of local sentiment.


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