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Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) is a type of contract introduced to allow PCTs - and now GP Commissioning Consortia - to contract services from providers outside the NHS - including voluntary and commercial organisations. The APMS contract paved the way for GP practices to be run by alternative providers - including GP-led private companies.

The policy of introducing so-called Darzi centres boosted a growth in APMS contracting. Recent figures suggest numbers of GPs working under APMS contracts are still rising sharply. However, a Pulse investigation recently revealed that APMS contracts were being renegotiated by PCTs.

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