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Gold, incentives and meh

Bid process rules GPs out of race

GPs have hit out at a tendering process for three Birmingham practices which they say favours private providers.

Interested parties must complete a 38-page form requiring detailed legal and financial information just to get the go-ahead to apply for APMS contracts for two singlehanded surgeries and a new 10,000 patient practice.

After 20 pages of guidance, applicants must complete an 18-page pre-qualification questionnaire and supply at least 18 written statements.

Dr Robert Morley, Birmingham LMC chair, said: 'There were some local GPs who got the forms and just held up their hands in dismay.

'GPs increasingly need the business skills large companies have. We can't compete with them organised as we are.'

Dr Vijay Abrol, a GP in Birmingham, said the process was a 'concerted effort on the part of Heart of Birmingham PCT to discourage the average doctor from applying'. He said: 'At 38 pages, just to be considered, no sensible doctor would go for it.'

Even private providers said the application process was burdensome. Dr Rory McCrea, co-chair of ChiversMcCrea Healthcare, said: 'Even with the in- frastructure to complete these forms, we find them a stretch.'

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