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Contract choice 'a travesty'

A patient involved in the decision to award contracts to run three practices in south London to providers from outside the area has labelled the process a 'travesty'.

Martin Saunders, a member of Southwark patient and public involvement forum and a patient at one of the practices, said his views were ignored and his involvement had been 'tok-enism'. Southwark PCT chose Concordia Health, whose directors include former GPC negotiators Dr John Chisholm and Dr Simon Fradd, to run the Melbourne Grove and Parkside practices (Pulse, 27 April).

A contract for the Sternhall Lane practice went to the Hurley group of practices from neighbouring Lambeth. But the decision not to award the contracts to salaried GPs already running the practices has caused controversy.

Mr Saunders said: 'It was a travesty. It was so scary the way it was done. They were very nice people but you could tell there was a hidden agenda.'

Dr Sarah Hawxwell, a sal-aried GP at the Sternhall Lane practice, said she believed the process 'favoured larger organisations'. She said: 'It was easier for them to secure the points that were necessary.'

A spokesman for Southwark Health and Social Care said the process was 'open and competitive' and a 'consensus decision' had been reached.

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