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Private UK firm wins practice

UK-based private company ChilversMcCrea has been awarded a controversial contract for a Derbyshire practice.

The original decision to hand the practice to the European arm of US giant UnitedHealth Europe was overturned in court.

Derbyshire County PCT was forced to repeat its tendering process after a judicial review ruled that managers had not properly consulted local patients before awarding the contract for services at Creswell and Langwith in Derbyshire.

Some patients had been concerned that a private company might put profits before patients and not provide continuity of services.

This time the PCT arranged public meetings and sent questionnaires to all patients seeking their views. Six bidders were interviewed, including three private providers and three local GMS/PMS providers.

Dr Elizabeth Barrett, a GP from Shirebrook, who bid for the practice with another GP, a pharmacist and nurse, said: 'I'm disappointed. Some patients worry the surgery may just have a series of doctors that act like locums, and that there will not be continuity.'

However, Dr Rory McCrea, a GP and director of Chilvers-McCrea, said: 'The vast majority of general practices are sole traders or partnerships subcontracted to the NHS,' he said. 'We are exactly the same.'

All money from the quality and outcomes framework would be ploughed back into NHS services, he said. UnitedHealth, which did not take part in the second tendering process, did not wish to comment.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County PCT said: 'We think ChilversMcCrea has a commitment to services and patients and has experience in providing services in areas of deprivation.' The practice serves one of the most deprived areas in England.

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