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GPs go forth

NHS trust takes over four GP practices in financial difficulty

An NHS trust will temporarily take on the running of four GP practices in Lincolnshire in a bid to save them from closure, after the APMS provider was forced to hand back the contract.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) will run the services for the next four and a half months, while the CCG reviews the future of the practices.

NHS Lincolnshire West CCG, which commissions GP services in the area, said APMS contractor Universal Health had 'unfortunately asked Lincolnshire West CCG to terminate their contract due to financial difficulties'.

But chief operating officer Sarah Newton said the CCG had 'worked with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust to secure caretaking arrangements until 16 December 2016 in an attempt to cause minimal disruption to patients whilst we review the longer term plan'.

She said that while 'no definitive decisions have been made in relation to the future of the practices' at this stage there were 'no plans to close the surgeries'. In the meantime, the CCG is 'seeking views of patients to help inform future planning of primary medical services'.

A statement on Universal Health's website, signed by chief executive Dr Neal Parkes, explained that recruitment problems had caused the problems with running of the practices.

He said: 'Whilst the quality of care provided to patients remains good, the financial difficulties of a heavy reliance on temporary staff because of local and national shortages of clinical staff mean that the management arrangements for these surgeries need to change.

'We have been working with the local CCG to ensure that this change will not affect patient services.’

It comes as only last week an NHS trust took over a practice in Somerset to ensure its survival - part of a trend of trusts taking over struggling practices.

Trust takeovers of practices

As Pulse has reported, many GP partners are handing their contracts to trusts and carrying on as salaried GPs in light of the general practice funding and recruitment crisis.

For example, in south Somerset, 10 practice contracts could come to be held by the local trust, with the current partners becoming salaried GPs.

Elsewhere, in Wolverhampton, a number of GP practices will be employed by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Hospitals Trust while a mental health trust and GP provider company in Sheffield won a bid for an APMS contract to run five GP practices.

Meanwhile, in Wales and Scotland, NHS health boards are increasingly having to take on the running of practices.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Mr Hunt must be delighted . It's all going to plan.

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  • Just shows that even private companies cannot run cash and staff starved practices.

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  • Indeed 6.08 pm!
    Our LMC CHief Exec, (Wessex) when I was a board member for Hampshire, kept trying to scare people with stories about the "Bogeyman" Private Sector who was waiting in the wings to take over all our practices if we didn't do as the GPC said.
    What total, utter, and complete tripe!

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  • no worries - only four practices out of thousands ( 4/8000 = 0.05 %) !

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  • I wonder why these practices were in financial difficulties in spite of holding APMS contracts which are paid much more than GMS/PMS contracts? Obviously they have handed back contracts because they cant make any profits. It just shows how good value for money GP are providing through GMS contracts.

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  • Interesting revelation from friends in Birmingham who were at NHSE MCP event last week.

    The US based academics admitted there were mixed results with ACO's in the USA, but nonetheless thats convinced NHSE to completely reform primary care.

    NHSE apparently obsessed with popn level statistics and spent hours on good 'metrics'!

    My friends quietly nodded whilst ehy try and save their practices and patients from NHSE harm.

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  • why isn't this making the national press? Why are the RCGP not using this as examples of how dire life is on the front line, rather than recruiting people to say how good the FYFV is?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Cannot think of a better way of describing this 'phenomenon' : tip of an iceberg.......
    Truth really is out there.

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  • Knowing the history of these practices, I would like to point out that these practices were run by the old Lincolnshire PCT for the last 15 years. They have been overfunded as APMS and when last year they were put for tender the funding was considerably reduced. The current provider was expected to take over with all the staff under TUPE arrangements (who were all overpaid and over staffed by the old PCT!!) and the running costs of the buildings etc. Services provided to the patients were not adequate and healthcare needs not met. It was then inevitable that the current provider could not sustaine the practices under any workable business model. Sometimes Practices need to close for the sake of the Patients and the current climate of reduced NHS funding and alternative models of care explored.

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