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GP consortia open talks with private sector

By Ian Quinn

GP consortia have begun recruiting the private sector to outsource hospital contracts and go into partnership in commissioning.

The Practice, which Pulse reported yesterday had taken over Chilvers and McCrea Ltd, taking its growing business to 50 practices and GP-led health centres, said it was discussing dozens of potential contracts with GP commissioners across England, on the back of the Government's white paper.

Chief executive Peter Watts also announced The Practice plans to form a national commissioning consortia, including its expanded empire of practices and Darzi centres.

He said it had begun a restructure to separate out the management of its commissioning and provider arms, which includes out-of-hospital clinical assesment and treatment centres (CATs) across the country, to avoid falling foul of conflict-of-interest issues.

Mr Watts said: ‘There has been a remarkable upsurge in our business on the back of the white paper and we're very excited about it. ‘

He said GPs in a raft of PCTs where they have been given control over commissioning budgets had already commissioned its CATs service, which specialisises in ophthalmology and sexual health, with areas including Solihull, Hertfordshire, Harrow and Kingston.

‘We're currently looking at 40 opportunities like that,' he said.

But Mr Watts also revealed The Practice had decided to go it alone as a national consortia for commissioning of services from its extended network across the country following the Chilvers McCrea deal, which has left the company with 152,000 patients and currently adding 2,000 more each month..

‘I'm relying on Andrew Lansley's statement that there's no set size for consortia and that there will be no practice boundaries,' he said.

‘We're entitled to form our own consortia, a national consortia and we've already had a number of approaches from PBC groups who are interested in working with us. We're on second or third meeting with a number of organisations. They are PBC groups that have gone to the next paradigm.'

Mr Watts says he is convinced smaller organisations, both private and NHS, will no longer be able to survive under the Government's plans.

Peter Watts: 'There has been a remarkable upsurge in our business on the back of the white paper' Peter Watts: 'There has been a remarkable upsurge in our business on the back of the white paper'

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