No GP surgeries will close as a result of the government's planned polyclinics according to health minister Ara Darzi who sits in the House of Lords.
The governments wants to open 150 polyclinics which will bring GPs together under one roof with testing and other services currently usually only found in hospitals. The British Medical Association has warned the plans will depersonalise care and the Tories have claimed up to 1,700 surgeries could be at risk, but Darzi said there had been 'confusion' about his plan.
He told BBC1's Andrew Marr show: 'We are talking about 150 new health centres across the country. This is additional money, this is not replacing current practices.'
Asked whether surgeries would close, Darzi said: 'Absolutely not. This is additionality. We want patients to have the choice. Patients are telling us that they want better access. These health centres will open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Is there anything wrong with that, being able to access your GP on a Saturday or Sunday?'
Under the government's £250 million plans, a GP-led polyclinic will be built in every Primary Care Trust (PCT) in England. Patients will apparently be able to stay registered with their existing family practice and use the new centres as a 'walk in' service.
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