A hospital trust in Warwickshire has become the first to take over the running of a GP-led health centre.

George Eliot Hospital trust plans to open the new 8am to 8pm health centre this October.

The development will be watched carefully as there have been concerns that hospitals should not be allowed to “vertically integrate” with GP services lest they be tempted to use them to create additional demand for acute care.

DH approval

The Department of Health’s guidance on the issue states that any such proposals must be agreed with the department.

But George Eliot trust chief executive Sharon Beamish said the trust “fully supports the drive to provide care closer to home”.

She added: “As an organisation that provides local hospital services we are well placed to extend these services within the community to offer a complete range of healthcare and have a more direct impact on improving the health and wellbeing of [the area].”