Monday, May 19, 2008

The NHS, Polyclincs and progress

As the NHS awaits the July report from Lord Darzi with its likely promotion of polyclinics (where several GPs’ surgeries are brought together linked to other services), I thought this quote was worth pondering:

We tend to meet any new situation by reorganising [to create] the illusion of progress, while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.

Usually attributed to Roman Consul Petronius but possibly dating from a British Army officer after the second world war.

Better integration of primary services makes sense. The fact that the medical profession does not like polyclinics could be seen as positive as the BMA has always opposed change including the foundation of the NHS.

On the other hand there is a risk that polyclinics will make primary care more distant from the individual – at least geographically. Nevertheless, we should all be conscious of the investment of time and resources (including the reserves now being accumulated in parts of the NHS) - will it be value-for-money?

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