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ISTCs stymie GPs' care plans

Block contracts guaranteeing work for independent sector treatment centres are derailing GPs' efforts to save money by shifting hospital services into primary care, writes Helen Crump.

GPs in Nottingham have had to scrap plans to redesign care pathways in the region because a new ISTC has already been commissioned to do some of the work.

Chris Locke, chief executive of Nottinghamshire LMC, said GPs were perfectly happy the treatment centre was being built, but the policy of guaranteeing minimum activity to its provider, Nations Healthcare, was at odds with practice-based commissioning.

GPs were 'miffed' to have used practice-based commissioning as it was intended,

to devise new care pathways, only to have to ditch the plans, he added.

Mr Locke said: 'The two

policies didn't quite tie up.

'When we saw the policy

for PBC we realised that in certain areas you can't pursue this because of the policy that had set the treatment centre up.'

Dr Safiy Karim, a GP in

Nottingham, said there were

to many 'agendas' in the NHS.

He said: 'It's frustrating

because we're asked to change things but on the other hand we find that there are other

political processes in the system that block us.

'Sometimes you get a bit weary of it all.'

He added: 'Still, if we wait long enough, we'll probably have another initiative and another NHS reorganisation.'

Mark Morgan, general

manager for Nations Healthcare in Nottingham, said the

organisation was working

with the PCT to get round the problem.

He said: 'Many of the

discussions about modern-

ising services that are moving

to the ISTC have connections with PBC service change aspirations.

'The ISTC discussions have been going on for four years whereas PBC consortiums

are only just agreeing their

priorities. The key conflict is therefore one of timing.'

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