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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)

  • For consultant 8.52.
    I fully agree with you. Locum doctors provide the same quality of service if not better. GPs fail to realise that locum doctors are also UK trained, they have to produce far more documents then GP partners.
    The culture against locum doctors is sickening, GPs react as though locum doctors are not doctors. They are hardly even called by names, the addressing is "that locum", it is sickening.

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  • I am sorry to say that locum Gp's are not as good at contract stuff or offering the same continuity of care. We have had locums for maternity leave and this has left a huge burden on the remainnig Gp partners.

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  • No one is saying that locum GPs are not good. (some of all gp types are not good)
    Rightly, they do what they are employed to do. The APMS provider may employ them on a longer term basis to provide continuity, and to manage the patients more completely, but it is more likely that the Provider will only employ GPs on a surgery by surgery basis ignoring any ongoing, or continuing healthcare needs.

    This is not what primary care can do, it is not what GPs are doing. It is a small part, and that is why it is not acceptable.

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  • The central directions for GP lists prevent GMS lists being advertised. They allow only APMS. GMS can take on more patients, but taking on a list which has been apms will lead to two contracts one gms one apms.

    As GMS can close, or be amalgamated, and no new ones can start, there is only one outcome for GMS practice in the long term.

    APMS is not about opening up to new providers it is about ending GMS. This despite being more expensive, and less good care, with less security for patients and contract managers.

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  • The value of this NHS Contract can only be had through an FOI request as these are 'commercial secrets of NHSE' and very sensitive commercial data indeed.
    The crux is that if the lucrative contracts given to APMS were given to GMS Contract holders, they wouldn't be going into liquidation at this pace.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    11.15. 80% of you believed the BMA tripe and voted FOR this contract. You are now "dreeing your ain weird".

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  • Took Early Retirement

    "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."

    That will do a lot for continuity then!

    If you want a guess at what they are being offered, I'd say £200 per pat per year minimum. I wonder if they will chase any QoF points?

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  • Anonymous 9.04, This is a very racist, inflammatory and unsubstantiated statement that directly suggests that non-native GPs are substandard. I am UK born, got my primary degree in India and did my higher training in the UK. Will the poster determine the quality of my work from my background, and if so, how?

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