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Independents' Day

DH rules out nationwide consortium

By Ian Quinn

The Government has barred the firm behind one of the country's biggest networks of privately run practices and Darzi centres from launching its own national commissioning consortium.

The Practice – which recently took over Chilvers and McCrea Ltd, taking its growing business to 50 practices and GP-led health centres – had planned to set up a standalone commissioning organisation to take advantage of health secretary Andrew Lansley's pledge that he would not legislate over the size and geography of organisations. However, in its subsequent response to the white paper consultation, the Department of Health ruled it did ‘not consider it viable for a consortium to be made up of practices drawn from a multiplicity of disparate places'.

A DH spokesperson, when asked about The Practice's proposal, said this week: ‘We don't think it's appropriate for a consortium to be made up of lots of disparate places.'

A spokesperson for The Practice denied it had formally applied to become a national consortium.

She added: 'We have however already been awarded National Pathfinder status as part of the Buckinghamshire consortia and are still developing our plans for other areas whilst recognising that consortia will require geographic weight and coherence.'

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