Over three-quarters of GPs are against the notion of superpubs, according to a new online poll.
The government had recently outlined its intention to transform primary care by creating 1,500 superhubs that would play a major role in general practice.
Migration to this new approach would be steady, but the intention is eventually to create numerous large practices spread throughout the NHS system.
However, 80% of the GPs who responded to a GPOnline poll regarding superhubs believe that relocating services to these larger practices would undermine services to patients.
And only 5% agreed that the move would improve the quality of GP services.
Over half of those who responded stated explicitly that they would be unwilling to support a superhub model, even to the extent of not being prepared to work within one.
And 57% indicated that they would be reluctant to move their practice into a superhub setup.
Health minister David Mowat had previously told the Commons that the NHS would benefit from the proposed superhub system.
Mowat asserted that evidence indicated that healthcare across England is “working better by putting GP practices into hubs of 35,000 to 40,000 people”.
The health minister went on to outline his vision for general practice in the future.
“We’re migrating over a period of time to a position in which – there are 7,500 GP practices around the country – to something more like 1,500 of these super hubs. But the contract position hasn’t caught up with that, and that’s a long road”.
But new issues were expressed in response to the online poll, with doctors seemingly sceptical that the new model would benefit either practices or patients.
There are concerns that shifting to at-scale GP models could undermine the continuity of care for patients, which can be particularly important for those suffering with long-term conditions.
Centralising services could also force patients to make longer journeys, which can be impractical or even logistically impossible in rural areas.
Many doctors are also concerned that patients would no longer have the opportunity to see a regular doctor; often expressed as a key desire of the general public.
Ultimately, it is asserted that superhubs do not deliver the functionality and services that are actually required by the population, let alone the healthcare system.
The Department of Health has already indicated that it has no plans to close down existing practices in order to satisfy the new superhub model.
But it is known that sustainability and transformation plans have already outlined proposals to reduce the number of surgeries in England.