GP in Poplar warns against NHS fragmentation in Tower Hamlets if patients choose GP near work in Canary Wharf

A GP in Poplar has warned that government plans, allowing patients to choose a GP near their work, to be trialled in Tower Hamlets will lead to a “costly” fragmentation of the NHS.

Dr Kambiz Boomla whose practise is the Chrisp Street Health Centre in Poplar, also believes it will prevent the NHS from planning around local needs, when from April, commuters in areas such as Canary Wharf, are allowed to register with a GP in Tower Hamlets.

In a letter to the medical journal, Pulse, Dr Boomla said: “It’ s easy to see the advantages for the big banks and employers in Canary Wharf. But for the NHS this comes with a heavy price.

“This small pilot will cost �2million, money desperately needed elsewhere. After all, efficiency savings of four per cent are being demanded from every NHS organisation.”

Dr Boomla, who chairs the City & East London Local Medical Committee, also outlines the

additional costs for surgeries.

“Sorting out home visits, accounting for the prescribing budget, the cost of referrals, the big cost of expanding premises in commuter areas – none of this comes cheap.

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“This will also force a crisis in commissioning. Well over 100,000 people migrate into Canary Wharf every day. If a significant proportion of them register with us, then Tower Hamlets ceases to have geographical cohesion. This will undermine the joint needs assessment with the local authority.”

Warning of the medical and social cost he predicts “serious untoward incidents are just waiting to happen” �when health providers in different areas have to work together.

“If the scheme extends to children, there will be failures in child protection. When patients need home visits, the visiting GP will be in the dark. If patients fall pregnant or have any serious illnesses requiring community services and integrated team working, this will break down.”

His warning comes after another Tower Hamlets GP, Dr George Farrelly, who runs the Tredegar Practice at Stephen’s Road in Bow, last year dubbed the same plans mad and dangerous.

A spokeswoman from the Depart of Health said: “We are committed to giving patients more choice about which GP practice they register with, and the vast majority of members of the public who responded to our consultation supported increased choice.”