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CCG changes GP contract from PMS to APMS during procurement

A CCG has changed the type of contract being tendered for a GP practice in Doncaster from PMS to APMS in the middle of the procurement process.

This comes as Pulse revealed that not a single new GMS contract – and just one PMS contract – has been issued in five years with practices being offered time-limited APMS contracts instead.

Dr Shahzad Arif handed back his GMS contract to run Church View Surgery, a 4,300-patient practice in Doncaster, late last year after falling into debt.

NHS Doncaster CCG then put the contract out to tender as a PMS contract but, in July, paused the procurement process to change the type of contract being tendered to an APMS contract.

In the meantime, Barnburgh Practice has been acting as ‘caretaker’ for the practice under an APMS contract, which will continue until 30 November 2017 after which the new contract will take effect from 1 December.

Dr Dean Eggitt, medical secretary for Doncaster LMC, said his understanding was that the contract tender ‘was challenged by a bidder’ and ‘they decided that they didn’t want to have the fight of why it could only go out as a PMS as opposed to an APMS because obviously an APMS is more open competition’.

NHS Doncaster CCG confirmed to Pulse that the procurement change was made because ‘more of an open procurement’ was needed to comply with NHS England’s Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

But Dr Eggitt told Pulse that it was originally decided to procure a PMS contract ‘because the area is so deprived and in need of long-term investment’.

He said: ‘Whilst the contracts did go out as a PMS, the procurement process has been paused and has now been changed and that PMS contract is now being procured as an APMS contract instead – on a five-year contract.’

He added that procuring an APMS contract ‘attracts the wrong sort of provider in our LMC’s opinion’. 

He said: ‘What we really need is somebody who has longevity in mind, long-term investments to make it a success rather than short-term profit making, who then walks away if it doesn’t work.’

An NHS Doncaster CCG spokesperson said: ‘The use of the APMS contract for a procurement process ensures that Doncaster CCG meets its obligations under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and NHS England’s guidance for the procurement of primary medical services.’

He added that the PMS contract ‘restricts certain providers from bidding’, while an APMS contract is more open.

He said: ‘That’s what the Public Contracts Regulations requires. That’s why they’ve gone down the APMS contract [route] – to be more open.’