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Practices forced to repel CCG’s push for hospital takeover

morale-damaging face-to-face campaign

Exclusive GPs from 29 practices have refused to be taken over by a hospital trust, despite a push by the CCG to create a new accountable care organisation in the area to help plug a deficit, Pulse has learnt. 

NHS North Tyneside CCG is consulting on introducing a ’primary and acute care system’ (PACS)-style organisation to launch within the area from 1 April 2016, which would be led by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 

Under the proposals, the trust would either employ or subcontract the 29 practices in the region to provide primary care services in the new accountable care organisation (ACO).

However, an LMC-led meeting with representatives from all the CCG member practices decided that local GPs would refuse to agree to join the model from April and that they would explore whether an ‘option B’ GP-led model could be an alternative. 

It comes as NHS England are pushing for hospitals and GPs to form ‘accountable care organisations’ that will provide both primary and secondary care services, which it detailed in its Five Year Forward View, while its chief executive Simon Stevens said that ’blurring boundaries’ between the two was ‘mission-critical’. 

Following the publication of NHS England’s plans, GP leaders warned that practices risk being ‘devoured’ by trusts.

According to the LMC, the CCG has said that setting up one of these PACS-style organisations was the best way to attract funding, which is needed to close a ‘substantive’ financial deficit – which Pulse understands is £17m.

But the LMC has said it was not reasonable to expect GP practices to accept that there was ‘only one show in town’ and jump into a hospital-led model within such a short timeframe and without the chance to look into alternatives.

As a result of the proposals, the LMC held an emergency meeting.

Following the meeting, Newcastle and North Tyneside LMC chief executive Dr George Rae said there was opposition to the CCG’s proposals.

He added: ’We are saying if it has got to be an ACO, and there has got to be a pilot on 1 April, then no, because we’ve got to have adequate time and we will want to know what are the alternatives.

’It was felt by all that this is much too soon. Across England, doctors know they can’t stand still and they are looking at new models of care. They are starting to look at options, but elsewhere they are not feeling that there is a time sword hanging over them that says it has to be done and dusted by April next year.’

The CCG has said it is working with the LMC and TyneHealth GP Federation as well as Newcastle Hospitals, Northumbria Healthcare, North East Ambulance Service and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trusts

Dr John Matthews, clinical chair of NHS North Tyneside CCG, said that the GP federation, which includes all 29 member practices, has agreed to join a programme board for the setting up of the ACO, adding: ’In view of our financial deficit, we are keen to work with all providers to put a sustainable solution in place as soon as possible.’

He added: ’The CCG was not formally represented at the meeting and we have not yet received feedback from it.’

A spokesperson for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: ’We can confirm that we are in positive talks with NHS North Tyneside CCG relating to a potential accountable care organisation model. These conversations are at an early stage and very much in their infancy.’