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GPs fear Hackney patients could lose in health shake-up

PUBLISHED: 13:33 11 April 2012

Patients could lose out as a result of NHS restructuring started this month, Hackney GPs have warned.

Hackney Primary Care Trust (PCT) joined with six other trusts in north east London to buy healthcare as a group for the next year.

Called NHS North London and the City, it will include Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest as well as Hackney.

It will be responsible for GPs, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, public health and clinical commissioning groups until the Health and Social Care Act 2012 gives full responsibility for buying healthcare services to NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in April 2013.

GPs fear that the move will mean provision is less sensitive to Hackney patients’ needs.

Difficulties

Dr Nick Mann, from the Well Street Surgery, said: “Clearly as a way of managing the health service it will create real difficulties. We have very different problems here in Hackney compared to Newham.

“I think it will lead to less locally sensitive provision. Whereas before we could talk to people at the PCT and they would understand the areas we were talking about, it is impossible to provision sensitively for such a large number of people.”

He added that over the last nine months Hackney’s mental health and drugs services have been affected, with 25 per cent of psychotherapy staff cut.

A Homerton Hospital Trust spokesman said: “Homerton continues to work closely with NHS commissioning bodies to ensure high quality health care for people in Hackney, The City and surrounding area.”

Hackney Council’s corporate director of health and community services, Kim Wright, said: “NHS North East London and the City are working hard to ensure the Council, GPs, patients and local people are at the heart of any decisions made about health services in Hackney.”

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