Over the years Polyclinics (also known as super surgeries), have been a controversial topic in the world of healthcare. Some say that they’re designed to benefit patients by offering a better range of care that is more cost effective and accessible, however there are also those that strongly disagree with this opinion.
But what are Super surgeries? Are they an improvement over standard GP practices? Should you consider joining one?What is a Super Surgery?
A Super Surgery (Or Polyclinic) is essentially a supercentre equivalent of a GP. Rather than having separate GPs scattered across the place, a polyclinic puts all of these under a single roof. This means that large scale buildings are full of doctors that can see patients whenever they need it (including all day weekends).
Where it is a bigger build it allows the Polyclinic to provide some alternate services that you wouldn’t typically find in a standard GP, including: x-rays, out-patient treatment and some minor surgeries.
A History of Polyclinics
Although the idea of polyclinics has been around for a long time with many countries adopting it, only in recent years has it reached the UK. In 2008 polyclinics were originally proposed to the UK with the intention of being purely London based, as part of Lord Darzi’s review of healthcare in London for NHS London. This was titled ‘Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action’.
Lord Darzi suggested that polyclinics should be London based in order to incorporate a large variety of healthcare services under one roof for busy patients, while he suggested that GP-lead health centres would be for outside of London.
This wasn’t designed to eliminate the purposes of standard GP practices and hospitals, but rather offer a solution for those working long hours and didn’t have time to wait for appointments. This meant that hospitals and GPs would still remain as the primary healthcare solution.Benefits & Drawbacks
Over the years of development Polyclinics have been a controversial subject. Although there are plenty of supporters out there for the development of Super Surgeries, others feel that this development isn’t necessary.
Ultimately Polyclinics and GP Surgeries both have benefits and drawbacks, but what are they?
Services & Facilities
Polyclinics offer a range of services and facilities ranging from standard examinations to x-rays and minor surgery.
GPs only typically offer the standard care and often refer patients to specialists for external services.
Polyclinics are open for extensively long hours, including access to medical help on a Sunday. In some cases they are open during festive seasons.
GPs on average are open on weekdays from 8AM to 6:30PM. They are rarely open on weekends.
As polyclinics have only recently come into fruition, they are only found in major cities such as London and Manchester for the most part. This makes them hard to access in towns.
GPs are a popularised practice which means that you can pretty much access medical help regardless of where you live.
Doctor/ Patient Relationship
Polyclinics are huge buildings with many doctors, meaning that you’ll probably never see the same doctor twice in a row.
With GPs you’ll often be appointed a doctor that you see every single time, which builds up a rapport of doctor/ patient trust.
Polyclinics essentially thrive on walk-in appointments, meaning anyone with a medical issue that they need a diagnosis for or treatment can be checked quickly
GPs often require an appointment to be made in order to be seen, with some GPs allocating days where patients can come in on the go. This varies as GPs can decide on their own booking routines.Patient History
It may be difficult for Polyclinics to know everything about your medical history as well as your families, purely because you’ll see a different doctor in each visit.
GPs will have you and your family’s medical records, meaning they can keep track of inherited health problems and allergies.
Whether it be from the perspective of a patient or someone in the medical practice, choosing between the two is evenly matched.
As a patient do you prefer to see the same doctor regularly to build up a patient/ doctor relationship, or is it more about getting seen as soon as possible? As a doctor do you prefer to work in a town where you’re easily accessible or in the city with an abundance of patients?
These questions all depend on a patient’s circumstances, or in the doctors’ case what type of service they want to offer to people.
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