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‘Caretaker’ hospital trust wins 15-year contract for former struggling GP group practice

A hopspital trust has won a 15-year contract to run three GP practices, having initially stepped in as their ‘caretaker’ manager last year.

Royal Primary Care, an arm of the Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, will be providing GP and primary care services to more than 30,000 patients from the three sites, having come out on top in a competitive tendering process launched in March.

It was first appointed as caretaker of the three surgeries in May last year when Holywell Group Practice, which had suffered long-running recruitment woes, was faced with the sudden departure of several GPs.

The new APMS contract will run for 15 years starting from October ‘with potential to extend it for a further three’.

Chesterfield Royal medical director Dr Gail Collins said that since RPC was appointed as caretaker it has improved care by recruiting five more GPs, delivering extended hours services, and set up an ultrasound clinic.

She said: ‘We are pleased to be able to sustain these services for local people at a time when fewer doctors are choosing to train in primary care medicine and go into partnerships.’

And the trust added this may not be its last takeover of local GP services, having entered into a partnership with the 11,500-patient, two-practice Blue Dykes Surgeries Group last month, with a view to potentially bid for that contract in six months’ time.

North Derbyshire CCG chief officer Steve Allinson said said he was ‘confident’ the trust would ‘continue to improve primary care’, adding: ‘Overall we were looking to award a contract that will give local people high-quality, safe services to meet their needs.’

It comes as Pulse has reported on growing numbers of GPs becoming employed by hospital trusts across England as GP partnerships struggle with defunding and unsustainable workloads.