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Huge variation in Darzi centre spending

By Gareth Iacobucci

A Pulse investigation has revealed huge variation in the money being spent on the nationwide procurement of GP-led health centres and under-doctored practices.

A survey of trusts has found that while a string of trusts have spent six figure sums, others have spent nothing.

Data obtained from 18 trusts by Pulse via Freedom of Information shows trusts have spent an average of £50,000 on procurements to date, with around £3,000 spending on average to come.

However, the figure disguises a huge discrepancy in spending.

Of the PCTs to respond, NHS Walsall, which procured three GP practices and a GP-led health centre via a collective hub in the West Midlands, shelled out the most, spending £200,000 on the procurement process.

This was followed by NHS South West Essex, which spent £114,000, and Portsmouth City PCT, which spent £111,000, including £66,000 on external project management from a private consultancy firm.

In contrast, NHS Islington and NHS Wirral reported zero spending, on account of all procurement being dealt with in-house.

Suffolk PCT spent just £14,000 on support.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said it was likely that smaller PCTs would have spent more on the procurement process because of their lack of expertise.

‘It depends whether you're comparing like with like and what is included in the cost. Some PCTs like Portsmouth who are quite small do not have the in-house facilities to do all of that,' he said.

‘The smaller PCTs will have to have bought in external help to do it, which will be more expensive than using people within their own organisation if they are available.'

Lord Darzi opening a new polyclinic in Redbridge - PCTs have spent hugely varying amounts on procurement

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