GPs face huge bills for Darzi polyclinic bids
By Gareth Iacobucci
GPs will be landed with staggering bills approaching £100,000 when mounting a bid for APMS practices and polyclinics, Pulse can reveal.
The daunting estimate adds to evidence of the uphill struggle GPs face to match the financial muscle of the private sector when competing for contracts.
It comes amid claims from some potential bidders that PCTs are freezing them out of the tendering process altogether.
A procurement document from NHS East of England predicts it will cost practices anything between £40,000 and £90,000 to complete the multi-stage bidding process – with no guarantee of success.
The document includes a breakdown of potential costs, which include up to £68,000 on bid management, £10,000 on legal advice, £10,000 on financial advice, £1,000 on printing and documentation, plus additional costs for operational and clinical time.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiatior, said the figures proved GPs were not operating on a level playing field.
He said: ‘It will never be level when GPs are being asked to dig into their own pockets at significant risk, and bidding against commercial organisations, for whom this is a very small financial risk that is probably unnoticed.
‘Not only will there be a cost at practice level, there will also be a huge cost at PCT level. It beggars belief that the Government is forcing through a process that is going to incur huge cost simply to fulfil this ideology.'
Dr Kambiz Boomla, a GP in Tower Hamlets, East London, who lost out to private firm Atos Healthcare in an APMS tendering process last year, said: ‘I think these figures are accurate. We paid a consultancy more than £10,000 to help us put our bid together, plus other costs of staff etc.'
Other GPs have claimed PCTs are effectively excluding them from the APMS bidding process by advertising for expressions of interest but not informing local practices.
In a letter to the Guardian, a group of GPs from Newcastle and North Tyne accused their PCT of trying to railroad through plans for three practices in under-doctored areas without proper consultation, and said the process proved the Government was ‘favouring provision by the private sector'.
A spokesperson for North Tyne PCT rejected the claims saying advertisements were placed in European, national and regional media.
But Health secretary Alan Johnson promised to investigate alleged lack of consultation from PCTs, after concern was raised in the Commons.Darzi debts: GPs face nearly £100,000 bills for tenders Darzi debts: GPs face nearly £100,000 bills for tenders