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New LMC buying groups to save practices thousands

LMCs are setting up buying groups to secure large discounts on medical supplies, in an attempt to help practices survive in the present difficult financial climate.

The groups allow GPs to make savings on a wide range of services, including flu and travel vaccines, medical equipment, energy and telephone bills and locum insurance.

A string of LMCs, including Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex, and Somerset have set up schemes in the past month.

There are now plans for a national LMC Buying Groups' Federation, initially comprising 11 LMCs, to increase further the collective buying power.

Services covered by buying groups are available to all practices in the areas covered by the LMCs, with GPs free to take advantage of any deals negotiated.

41216122In one example, a practice in Mansfield secured a 25% saving in one year on its bill for medical consumables and stationary, amounting to a reduction of £2,500.

Kent LMC revealed it had recently struck up a series of deals with companies to supply GPs with medical consumables, energy supplies and locum insurance.

The groups are also offering discounts on medical equipment, calibration and testing, office stationary and furniture, car purchase and leasing and even practice website design.

In a special Buying Group newsletter produced for GPs – the LMC said the more practices who took advantage of the scheme, the bigger the ‘collective negotiating clout' and the bigger the savings.

‘In the midst of rising economic costs and pay inflation, practices are suffering the effects of three successive years without an uplift in NHS core income. No practice can afford to overlook opportunities to save money,' it said.

‘We urge practices to look at the prices that have been negotiated and compare them with what you are currently paying.'

Chris Locke, secretary of Nottinghamshire LMC, which first developed the plans for use in the East Midlands, said the schemes could be hugely beneficial to GPs in times of financial uncertainty.

He said: ‘GPs have had no contract uplift for three years, and the prospects are looking quite gloomy for the DDRB this year. Against the backdrop of the credit crunch, it behoves practices to look at how it operates, how you can save money and reduce expenditure.'

New buying groups set up by LMCs could save practices thousands Saving money in the crunch

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