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Secrecy over Shrewsbury Polyclinic costs

July 19, 2009 9:31 PM
By Charles West

The proposed new polyclinic for Shrewsbury will cost a lot of money.  Just how much is being kept a secret.

Shrewsbury's polyclinic is due to open this month, but when asked how much it would cost, Shropshire County PCT has refused to say.

A survey of Polyclinics, or so-called "GP-led Health Centres", around the country has shown that on average PCTs are spending about three times as much per patient on these privately run clinics as they spend on treating a patient in a normal General Practice.  In some places they cost seven times as much.

Dr Charles West, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said, "I have long been arguing that these new clinics are an unnecessary waste of money.  They will cause confusion about who is actually looking after the patient and risk damaging the current local services.  It is disgraceful to see that the NHS is repeating the mistakes it made when it spent millions of pounds trying to buy operations or X-rays from private providers.  The NHS can ill afford to waste money on services that at best are unnecessary, and at worst will damage the NHS as we know it."

Dr Mary McCarthy, chair of Shropshire Local Medical Committee said, "We know that our PCT executives are being pushed to open this Darzi Centre because of Department of Health directives, but money would be better invested in Primary Care - especially since this is currently under pressure because of the flu pandemic.

Shropshire cannot afford to waste money. The health service is already strapped for cash and public funds should be spent wisely."

For more information contact:
Dr Charles West
Shrewsbury and Atcham Liberal Democrats
3 Bellstone,
tel:   07775 800744