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The waiting game

Private provider appointed to run three practices

NHS Leicester City CCG has appointed Spirit Healthcare Ltd to provide primary care services at three GP practices in the city.

The move was taken as part of the CCG’s re-procurement process and Spirit Healthcare started providing new services under its initial five-year APMS contracts from 1 October.

The three surgeries - Asquith Surgery, Beaumont and Rushey Mead - had previously been run on APMS contracts by Fosse Medical Centre and The Practice Group.

The private provider claims it will make use of innovative technology to help patient’s self-manage access to primary care, including providing them with online access to book appointments or ask for advice.

Managing director of clinical services at Spirit Healthcare Tim Loveridge said: ‘Over the past months we have been working with the CCG, regulators, surgery staff, and other local stakeholders, including patient participation groups, to ensure as smooth a transition as possible from the previous providers.

‘Our focus now is on developing these practices with our patients and with our staff. As an organisation, we are committed to delivering services of the highest standard and make the best use of NHS resources to help make the nation happier and healthier.’

A recent survey by researchers at Imperial College London showed that when practices are owned by limited companies under APMS contracts, patients are less satisfied with the service provided in comparison with those under GMS contracts.

Despite this, data recently obtained by Pulse via a Freedom of Information Act showed that almost all new GP practices (between 2013 and 2017) have been offered APMS contracts.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Cobblers

    Let's talk money. How much per patient? Bet it's a lot more than other GMS practices.

    Pulse can you find out?

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Agree this is a financial question and is about equality and discrimination.

    Why do patients in a neighbouring practice have GMS payments given to their GPs to provide sevices on a much lower tariff per patient than an APMS practice.

    This hugely uneven playing field allows different budgets to be put in place to staff them, with unfair discriminatory problems also, as GMS practices have to offer the BMA contract to salaried GPs but APMS practices for some reason do not.

    APMS practices can suck out the money from a practice and run it into the ground, and hand back the contract as it is no longer financially viable, with not a single thought of what will happen to the patients they leave behind, and what will hapen to them.

    The bottom line is these APMS practices in the vast majority of cases are run to suck out as much money from the NHS and slowly privitise primary care.

    If privitisation is not the goal, then prove it by funding partnerships to have GMS contracts with the same funding.

    If you did look at the pound per patient in every APMS contract awarded (Pulse please to the research/freedom of information requests needed) - why pay for a service with worse patient feedback, and higher levels of admissions as shown by seeing different doctors, and provide poorer value for money!

    Anyone from Mr Hunt, the DOH down to NHS England managers responsible for handing out these APMS contracts should resign - as clearly they are responsible for destroying Primary care piece by piece with these contracts.

    It is still not too late to reverse this trend - but the longer it is in place the harder it will become.

    The bollsh!t that European law requires all contracts to go to tender will hopefully be laid to rest with Brexit, so lets move towards a sustainable Primary care on a even funding.

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  • It will be interesting how much per patient they are paying.

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  • This is a corruption loophole created for NHSE by the government. We questioned this in Medway in 2010. One APMS had 250 per patient another an APMS thrust with GMS rate of 62 per patient and the Contracts Director refused to disclose this information as it was 'a commercial secret'. Let's face it there is rampant corruption sanctioned by this government and we need to name it and then accept or challenge it. More than a million pounds in 106 moneys have just been release in our area after 7 years of hoarding after the intervention of our local MP at the Parliamentary level. £ years ago, at a regional LMC meet, a Surveyor invited to speak said NHSE can do anything with the money and doesn't have to give it to Practices. We have seen this money being released now - so - why was it held back and did Practices in Medway and Kent not deserve support and funding? I believe the situation is similarly pathetic in other regions of the country.

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