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Independents' Day

27,000 patients could lose their GP as chain hands back contract

Some 27,000 patients are at risk of losing their GP practice as a provider has decided to hand back a contract it says is 'not fit for purpose'.

Greenbrook Healthcare, which runs five practices in west London under one APMS contract, said it has been in discussions with NHS England since the beginning of the year to ‘address what support could be provided by them'.

But with no extra funding coming through, Greenbrook Healthcare - a private company which runs GP practices and urgent care centres across west and south London - has concluded that the best option is to end its 10-year contract nine months early, to ‘allow NHS England to look at the contract afresh’.

The provider said that 'over time' the contract covering the Hounslow-based Bedfont Practice, Manor Practice, Great West Surgery, Heston Practice and the Isleworth and Grove Practice has 'become unfit for purpose, on the back of increasing demand and the GP recruitment crisis.

A spokesperson said: 'Demand has increased, and the national shortage of GPs has made finding GPs ever harder.'

Greenbrook Healthcare said it expects NHS England to re-tender the contract for running the practices in July next year, and that it would have to look in detail at the terms before deciding whether to renew its bid to run the practices.

It added that it would try mitigate the impact of any changes to provider.

The spokesperson said: ‘In the scenario that a new provider takes over these services Greenbrook Healthcare will do everything it can to keep the impact on patients to a minimum, and to ensure high quality patient care remains a focus through to the end of the contract and beyond.

‘In addition, doctors, nurses and other staff would transfer to any new provider (under TUPE rules) minimising any changes that patients may experience.

Greenbrook Healthcare took over the management of the practices from Hounslow Primary Care Trust in 2008.

It says that it ‘has made considerable investment in the quality of the care delivered in these practices, greatly increasing the opening hours, the number of services offered and improving quality metrics such as QOF scores’.

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) told Pulse: ‘Greenbrook Healthcare has given nine months’ notice on their contracts in Hounslow and the contracts will now terminate at the end of June 2017.

‘We will be communicating with all affected patients shortly to ensure that they have their say on the future of their GP services in the coming weeks. We are working to ensure that disruption is minimal and we want to reassure patients that we will do everything we can to find a solution that provides the best possible care for the local community.’

The news comes as Pulse revealed this month that some NHS managers are proposing to allow vulnerable GP practices 'to fail and wither', and as GP practices are closing while waiting on support from the Government's support funds.



Readers' comments (31)

  • Too big to fail?

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  • Isn't this also 'Working at scale'!

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  • APMS contracts are not as generous as some posters on here imagine

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  • @9:45am but they are not less generous than GMS

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  • Peter Swinyard

    There is an APMS practice in my bailiwick which has resources of £150 per patient per year. (real patients, not Carr-Hill notional ones). My GMS practice has £99 per patient per year (including premises costs). We are expected to provide the same service. Shurely Shome Mishtake???

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  • "Isn't this also 'Working at scale'!"

    Yes indeed.

    "Working at scale" involves "failing at scale" when it all goes wrong.

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  • Private healthcare firms are always backing out of GP contracts unable to make a profit because of their sheer incompetence in bidding. Why can't these stupid firms find out whether they can make a profit before bidding? If there is a shortage of GPs to recruit to vacant practices, the Commissioners should scour the EU and further afield wherever doctor are well-trained. The Commissioner are utterly stupid in thinking that a private health firm will successfully run a GP practice. There have been so many failures that it is clear that the Commissioners cannot learn. Abolish commissioning now by supporting the NHS Bill.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    I think that the unstated difference is that when a private firm finds it is not making a profit, it hands back the contract. When a sole practitioner is struggling financially, he/she may have to relinquish the contract, which may land them with all the redundancy costs if the NHSE decides to disperse the list and may result in personal bankruptcy. Not a jolly thought for a Monday morning...

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  • That is deliberately taking the 'fail and wither' quote out of context for dramatic effect.

    Unethical editing.

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  • For a £150 pounds per patient (not weighted, I could have given them a 7 day service. But then, we are the inferior lot isn't it so if I take 26 patients next month they will weigh my list down by 13 patients instead of paying for the 26 new ones.
    Lack of transparency and the ability to blame everything on the Carr Hill formula which to be honest - nobody in this country wishes to look into - that is what is going wrong with primary care today. No wonder the private companies call it a day when funds are withdrawn because they can do it. As Peter has pointed out, we'll be dogged and taken down by redundancy and premises mortgages if we tried to do the same.

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