Polyclinics mean local people will need to travel three times as far to see a GP

Tuesday, 24 June, 2008

David Ruffley MP has today released new figures which reveal that Suffolk residents will have to travel three times as far to visit their GP.

Government Ministers are overseeing the replacement of GPs' surgeries with impersonal super-surgeries. Across England 1,700 family doctor surgeries could be closed.

London is being used as the test bed for severe cuts in GP levels. Currently the average local GP in London is under half a mile away- but the Government as admitted that this will more than treble to 1.5 mile once polyclinics are introduced.

If a similar approach is replicated in Suffolk the average distance to the nearest GP will rise to 8.2 miles in Mid Suffolk and 6 miles in St Edmundsbury.

David said:

'These unpopular cuts to local GP services will mean Suffolk residents will have to travel much further to see a doctor when they are ill. The introduction of polyclinics, or GP led heath centres, will hit the most vulnerable in our community the hardest.

'Large impersonal polyclinics will break the bond between patient and doctor that is so important to many people. In particular, my concern is with the elderly, infirm and those with young children- these groups, more than others, rely on their local GP and it can take a substantial amount of time to build up a level of trust.

'If the pattern seen in London is repeated in Suffolk, residents in St Edmundsbury will face a 6 mile trip to see their nearest GP while those in Mid Suffolk will face an imposing 8 mile journey.

'These cuts come hot on the heels of plans to close local Post Offices. This Government simply does not see the value of keeping services local and, as is often the case, it is those most in need who will be hardest hit.

'Over the coming months I will be fighting on behalf of local people to attempt to ensure that polyclinic are not imposed on our community against our will.'