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GPs go forth

APMS provider takes over GP contract after all partners resign

NHS England has commissioned a third sector provider to take on an APMS contract for 12 months after all partners at a GP practice in Braintree, Essex, resigned.

In a statement on the St Lawrence Medical Centre’s website, patients have been informed that their GP needs will now be met by locum doctors until the APMS provider has been able to employ permanent GPs.

The contract has been handed to Provide, a staff-owned social enterprise which delivers more than 50 community healthcare services across Essex, outer north east London, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which said it saw this as a ‘unique opportunity’ to integrate GP and community services.

The statement on the practice website said: ‘Following the resignation of the GP partners, Provide has been commissioned to run the practice commencing from 1 June 2015.

‘There will be no change to the opening times, the way appointments are booked or the out-of-hours services. Locum doctors will be providing GP services until we have recruited permanent GPs.’

Meanwhile, a branch surgery of the St Lawrence Medical Practice in Silver End has been taken on by another GP practice, the Little Watham & Great Notley Surgery.

Provide’s APMS contract expires in 12 months time and if it wants to keep running the practice it will have to go through a new tender process to be run ahead of 1 June next year.

A spokesperson for Provide told Pulse: ‘The opportunity to manage St Lawrence Medical Practice was put out to tender by NHS England.

‘As a current provider of a GP surgery, and the provider of community services in Mid Essex, we felt we were in a unique position to develop and improve integration between primary and community services.’

The news comes after Pulse revealed last year that NHS England was planning for all new GP contracts going to be time-limited APMS contracts put out to tender due to competition regulations. However NHS England managers later backtracked on the claims.

APMS contracts were introduced in 2004 to open up primary care to ‘new providers’ and were famously used to procure the Labour government’s ill-fated ‘Darzi’ centres across the country.

Meanwhile a recent study, published in April, concluded that opening up the NHS to competition from private providers via APMS contracting ‘may have even led to worse care’.

Readers' comments (18)

  • 15,888 patient list there according to NHS choices

    All partners resigning "en masse" spells trouble. Very Sad situation no doubt.

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  • 'Until we have recruited permanent GPs' Ah yes - the week after next then? Do APMS providers get access to a giant cupboard where 5000 GPs are hiding?

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  • Please publish the value of this APMS contract.
    Does anyone think it will be based on standard capitation fees?

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  • I still have to splash water in my face that this is actually happening, and allowed to happen. Utterly nauseating.

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  • Cost of locums, reorganisation and quality of care? Disaster planning for the foreseeable. The big Provide gets its golden handshake.

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  • Yes locums are sure to provide exactly the same service as before. Same amount invested in it after all.

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  • "... until we have recruited permanent GPs." Permanent until June next year when the contract goes out to tender again.

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  • What an ideal opportunity to see what the quality of service is, what it cost and what the profit made by the Providers is.

    Failure of these details to be made public would be more than suspicious.

    The make-up (names and designations) of the Providers may be of some interest.

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  • I don't know what caused all the partners to resign at once but why don't we all do it? We have an impossibly demanding, unilaterally dictated contract and are working under increasingly stressful conditions. We are all our moaning and groaning and nobody at NHS England cares. Take control of your lives everyone. Contracts should be agreed, not imposed. GPs have unique skills which the DoH needs and we should make the most of the situation.

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  • I agree. mass resignation would change our working lives over night and make the government really think. Will the BMA agree? will pigs fly?

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