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Fears on new wave of APMS tenders

The Department of Health has unveiled the next phase of its controversial rollout of APMS services in so-called under-doctored areas.

The move comes as fears grow that APMS services will poach the patients of existing surgeries and increase pressure to extend opening hours.

The department opened a tendering process in six new PCT areas this week under its fairness in primary care procurement process. The new contracts for general practice services are in Ashton Leigh and Wigan PCT, Bolton PCT, East Lancashire PCT, Luton Teaching PCT, Manchester PCT and Trafford PCT.

Dr Peter Fink, secretary of Manchester LMC, covering one of the areas involved, said it wanted to see local practices bidding for the contract either individually or as a consortium 'to try to alleviate any threat' of patients being poached.

'The new practice is being put into a brand-new building and people are often impressed by buildings,' he said.

The LMC's concern follows a row in Nottinghamshire where the LMC fears a new APMS service under the first wave of the Government's initiative will poach patients from existing services rather than extend provision in under-doctored areas.

Many GPs also fear the Government will use the APMS contract to bring in extended GP opening hours through the back door.A shortlist is to be announc-ed within the next few weeks of contenders for the first batch of APMS services in Nottinghamshire County Teaching PCT, as well as PCTs in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, Hartlepool and County Durham.

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