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Independents' Day

GPs fight off APMS threat

GPs are grouping together and launching their own limited companies in a desperate rearguard action against private providers.

Dozens of GPs plan to target emergent APMS contracts and collectively compete against even the biggest multi-nationals.

In Leeds, 70 GPs across 19 practices have formed LeeDrs in a bid to create an organisation with financial 'clout' in advance of several practices coming up for tender.

Dr Tom O'Shea, a director at LeeDrs and a GP in the city, said: 'It will have the benefit of satisfying whatever directive PCTs have received. By working in partnership we can protect the interests of GPs with the interests of the NHS at heart.'

Some 50 GPs in Staffordshire have banded together to form a company with similar intentions.

Dr Prasad Rao, chair of GP Services for Staffordshire and a GP in Stoke-on-Trent, said: 'I

see competitors like United Healthcare Europe and Mercury Healthcare as being outsiders. We will not compete against local GPs.'

Dr Rao said the creation of a national federation of GP companies would better enable local organisations to outperform the independent sector.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC workforce negotiator, said he thought it very likely more groups such as these would emerge 'to preserve general practice as we know it now'.

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