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Local GPs win contract for first Darzi centre

By Gareth Iacobucci

Local GPs have beaten off competition from the private sector after being chosen as preferred bidder for the first GP-led health centre contract awarded under Lord Darzi's nationwide tender process.

Bedfordshire PCT has chosen a local GP partnership to run the Putnoe Medical Centre, ahead of Care UK, ADP Healthcare, and other GP-commercial bidders.

It said patients' concerns over continuity of care was one of the deciding factors.

The news will come as some comfort to GP bidders around the country, who have expressed widespread fears that the APMS tendering processes is skewed towards private providers.

GPs at King Street Surgery in Kempston, in collaboration with Dr Emmanuel Ochola, a current GP Partner at the Putnoe centre, have been announced as the preferred bidder to run the centre, selected as the PCTs ‘Darzi centre' after being put out to tender in December 2007.

The Government has given all PCTs until the end of the year to have contracts signed for at least 150 new GP-led health centres, with Bedfordshire an exceptional case in terms of its procurement timescale.

The Putnoe Medical Centre will follow the Government's template by offering patients standard GP services opening 8 until 8, a walk-in-facility, plus extended opening hours.

Andrew Morgan, chief executive of Bedfordshire PCT, said patients' concerns over continuity of care had influenced the decision.

He said: ‘Patients were asked for their views in a number of ways before the process began. We listened to those views, which included concern about the continuity of care. Thanks to a very detailed evaluation process we can ensure high quality healthcare, increased access and value for taxpayer's money delivered by local GPs.'

Bedfordshire PCT Chairman, Alan Loynes, said: ‘King Street Surgery has a very good track record as a local GP practice and put in an excellent bid. The panel agreed that King Street Surgery will provide an excellent service to the patients in Putnoe and were unanimous in their decision.'

Dr Emmanuel Ochola said: ‘We are delighted that the Putnoe Medical Centre is to remain in the hands of local NHS GPs who will put the interests of patients first.

‘We have years of experience of providing traditional, high quality NHS general practice at Putnoe and King Street and we will use this as the foundation for an innovative and exciting future at the new Putnoe Medical Centre.

‘Our aim is to work closely with the patients and staff at Putnoe to build a first class service that is compassionate, easily accessible, and provides continuity of care.'

Lord Darzi: patients in Bedfordshire demanded continuity of care Lord Darzi: patients in Bedfordshire demanded continuity of care

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