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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs team up to bid for new polyclinics

By Steve Nowottny

GP practices across the country are teaming up to bid for the new breed of polyclinics, in a bid to stop private companies dominating the future face of general practice.

Pulse understands hundreds of practices across the country are grouping together as consortiums and preparing to submit tenders for polyclinics and new surgeries in underdoctored areas.

The development comes as Pulse's survey of more than 500 GPs found one in five were already planning to form their own company. As many as 85% thought GPs would have to do so as the only way to compete effectively with the private sector.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator and a GP in Stanmore, Middlesex, urged practices to try to beat rather than join private companies in running the new surgeries. ‘There are real opportunities for GPs to work with others rather than with private companies,' he said. ‘The challenge is to make use of the opportunities available.'

Dr Simon Parkinson, secretary of Worcestershire LMC, said a group of GPs in his area was considering a bid. ‘It's self-preservation,' he said. ‘There's certainly one big group debating it. Whether it will be given a chance or not is an interesting debate we've had with the PCT.'

Dr Anthony D'Arcy, medical director of Hampshire LMC, said GP-run polyclinics might be one way of avoiding practice closures. ‘If practices run them, they would hardly be likely to destroy themselves, would they? But it's obviously going to have to tick a lot of the Government's boxes.'

But other GPs expressed doubt GP consortiums would be given a fair playing field in the battle with private companies for APMS tenders.

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