THE press has reported one-in-five GP surgeries could close to make way for 'polyclinics' or super surgeries.

If these proposals go ahead it could be to the detriment of local surgeries; some medical staff could lose their jobs and patients could be put at risk.

For many patients like myself with long term, ongoing medical problems, it gives them more confidence having their situation monitored and followed up by the same doctors who are familiar with their previous medical history, as it saves time not having to keep going over old ground and is also safer as they know all their regular medications and possible interactions with other drugs.

Even if patients explain their situation and regular drugs to doctors in polyclinincs, errors could be made if they fail to record all their details properly.

I've encountered problems like this in Hillingdon A&E and it could happen to other patients with more complex situations too.

Continuity of patient care is helpful in the management of long term conditions, and is something you rarely get even in hospital clinics, as consultants and registrars move so on frequently you are lucky if you see the same doctor more than a couple of times.

Polyclinics may serve some useful

purpose, such as an out-of-hour emergency or for occasional problems, and could save people having to travel further to hospital for some procedures, but only if they are used alongside normal doctors' surgeries and not instead of them, as patients need choice and polyclinics aren't ideal for long term things.

Supersize medical establishments aren't always as constructive as intended.