Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Struggling practices to be offered emergency support after Pulse campaign

Exclusive Neighbouring GP practices will be drafted in to provide emergency support to colleagues in the south of England who are struggling to keep afloat, under new NHS England plans seen by Pulse.

The major move by the NHS England South region will see them contract a list of GP providers to provide ‘short-term general medical service support’ after the resignation or retirement of a GP.

The development comes after Pulse has highlighted a number of possible closures in the south of England as part of its Stop Practice Closures campaign, which calls for emergency support to be put in place to help struggling practices.

Pulse has reported six practices on the brink in Wessex and the closure of a practice in Brighton that forced NHS England bosses to give neigbouring practices an additional £25 administrative payment for every patient they took on.

Across England, Pulse has learnt that there has been a 500% increase this year in practices approaching NHS England seeking advice on closing or merging.

NHS England bosses had said practice closures ‘should not be assumed to be a problem’, but now the south region is expecting to finalise a network this summer of GP providers who LMC leaders say could be asked to take on extra patients or even stepping in to run a practice temporarily.

It said that short-term general medical service support under an APMS contract could be provided for reasons such as ‘the death of a single handed general practitioner or the short notice retirement or resignation of a general practitioner’.

In a letter to all GP senior partners and practice managers sent last week, NHS England said it was specifically looking for ‘suitably experienced, local, regional and national general medical service providers’, as well as federations and ‘multi-specialty providers’ to join the framework agreement, which will use APMS contracting.

The letter added: ‘The framework will be designed to increase the options open to primary care commissioners and simplify the timeline and process for securing short-term general medical services locally. 

‘General medical services will be purchased from the suppliers on the framework using APMS contracts and, where necessary, after mini competitions between interested framework providers.’

Wessex LMC chief executive Dr Nigel Watson said that the LMC was consulted and had itself looked at setting up a support system for practices in difficulty, but found it would be too complicated to run from the LMC.

Dr Watson said the network idea was ‘a good thing’. He added: ‘The idea for this has been floating around for some time to create something where you could go in and support and stabilise a practice while maybe it changes, or maybe it is able to recruit, rather than you end up with a practice just becoming unsustainable.’

This could mean temporary supporting a practice with its patient demand ‘or even going in temporarily and taking over the practice’, he said, and was an alternative to an approach of giving short-term financial support that may not help recruitment problems.

Dr Watson said there was an appetite from GPs to be part of the team. He said: ‘I spoke to some GPs who had recently retired for example who said they would be quite happy to be part of a team that went into a practice say for three months just to stabilise it.’

The BMA and the RCGP have also highlighted the struggle practices face through their respective ‘Your Patient Cares’ and ‘Put Patients First’ campaigns.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘We have made very strong representations to NHS England about the unpredictability and insecurity of any GP practice.

‘The fact that we have publicised collectively that practices either are closing or are at risk of closing – including Pulse’s Stop Practice Closures campaign – has been of help.

Stop Practice Closures-banner-online

 

Readers' comments (8)

  • NHS England bosses had said practice closures ‘should not be assumed to be a problem’,
    This attitude has been the cause of major problems in primary care as NHSE has been only too eager to put in APMS Contracts the rates of which have been varied it would seem on a personal 'knows whom basis'.
    Marlowe Park Medical Centre had an APMS imposed at the basic GMS rate and it's existing MPIG was linked to KPIs which required 3 f/t GPs to provide the required number of slots while neighbouring APMS were being given between 120 to 250 pounds per patient and plus additional sums averaging 65k (for Practice with £135/pt) for KPIs which were less stringent than one's given to MPMC.
    Till you don't have transparency in the system, things will not improve. NHS Fraud should actively monitor every single APMS Contract given and people should be held accountable for squandering tax payers money under the guise of 'urgent measures in public interest'.
    NHSE has a legal right to give temp APMS at the price they 'negotiate'. However, they aren't happy to negotiate with some Practices while with others they can and sky is the limit for the price negotiated, if you know the right people.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Surely the answer is to properly fund GMS rather than to rescue failed GMS practices with short term APMS contracts with extra funding. The practice is never going to be an attractive option to take over unless you can demonstrate long term financial stability from a long term contract. In the current environment when a GP has the choice of about 15 different jobs - who is going to take on the stress of a failing practice?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • APMS contracts, short term measures & 'mini competitions'? Bonkers. They are still assuming there is goodwill out in GP-land to pick up additional work when practices can no longer cope and close. Well, there isn't.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • John Glasspool

    Dr Watson said there was an appetite from GPs to be part of the team. He said: ‘I spoke to some GPs who had recently retired for example who said they would be quite happy to be part of a team that went into a practice say for three months just to stabilise it.’

    Well, he didn't speak to THIS recently retired GP, nor his wife. Mind you, if Nigel and his chums on the GPC had done their job properly in the first instance, GPs wouldn't be in the current omnishambles necessitating the idea of bringing back retirees to re-float a sinking practice.

    My terms: no annual appraisal, my GMC subs paid as well as MPS, and a WHOLE LOT of money for me. (Like £200k for 6m might just tempt me.) I have no goodwill towards HMG.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dr Watson said there was an appetite from GPs to be part of the team. He said: ‘I spoke to some GPs who had recently retired for example who said they would be quite happy to be part of a team that went into a practice say for three months just to stabilise it.’

    And that assumes that they are revalidated, appraised, DCR checked, indemity is current, GMC status checked. -- You're kidding right???

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This recently "retired" GP would consider it for the same terms as John. Although, frankly, I would rather work in Tesco.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    Such an irony.
    Still remember 'parachute GPs' in the olden days. My practice used to have one shortly before I joined in 20 years ago. Those were young GPs dispatched centrally to help out practices with manpower problem.
    Now this is asking for another brand of parachutes , only you really veteran GPs instead because of a different scale of problems.
    No GP crisis ? Seriously ??? Yes, whose fault is that?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What do we expect when we as doctors cannot say no because we are not supported by neither our leaders, nor the government.
    An ambulance is called for cough and cold, OOH is called because somebody has pain on the site where a prick was done for BM check. At 02.00 am OOH is called to "check out" ears because somebody is flying to Spain.
    All comes down to public responsibility and control of demand, which will only be achieved by charging a nominal fee like our Dentist colleagues.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say