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12-25-2007, 11:12 PM
The NPA has warned a group of parliamentarians that 'polyclinics' could diminish access to primary care in neighbourhood locations, if developed without reference to existing networks of care, such as the community pharmacy network.

GP consolidation on the scale envisaged in the Government's Our NHS Our Future interim report would have an appreciable impact on the surrounding pharmacy network, particularly if the polyclinic facility also contains a pharmacy.

Stephen Fishwick, Head of External Relations, said:

"Access is at least in part about convenient locations. We are anxious that the polyclinic model must not have the effect of reducing access to primary care in neighbourhood locations. A well designed model of provision, with high street and neighbourhood pharmacies delivering a range of access-critical services could significantly enhance healthcare."

The warning was made to the All Party Parliamentary Primary Care & Public Health Group in Westminster, which is conducting an inquiry into GP access.

In its submission, the NPA also expressed regret at the Government's refusal to date to adopt a national minor aliments service. Where minor ailments services are locally commissioned they have been shown to reduce unnecessary A&E visits as well as providing an alternative to GP consultations.

National Pharmacy Association (http://www.npa.co.uk/)