A GP partner in West London has been issued with contract termination notices for failing to cooperate with the local PCN.
The GMS and PMS contracts for 2019/20 say practices are contractually obliged to cooperate with PCNs ‘whether or not’ they are signed up to the network DES.
Non-PCN practices have a duty to inform patients of changes to PCN services, be ‘party to appropriate data sharing’, and to share non-clinical data with PCNs.
NHS Hillingdon CCG said it had to issue the notices as it had ‘not been able to reach an agreement with the contractor that would allow all patients registered at the practices to have access to the additional NHS primary care network services’.
Dr Sashi Shashikanth, a GP principal of two small GMS practices in Hillingdon, west London, who is not signed up to the DES, had hoped the CCG could separately contract his two practices to provide the services.
The GP, first warned about contract breaches in January this year, also suggested that handing over patient details to the PCN would have placed him in breach of GDPR.
He said: ’We have requested all along [for the CCG] to help us to offer services to our own patients. Instead they are pushing us into the legal option which will cost us thousands of pounds in legal fees and time at this crucial pre-winter time when we fear a second [Covid] wave is around the corner.’
An NHS Hillingdon CCG spokesperson said: ‘NHS Hillingdon CCG has made the difficult decision to end the practices’ contracts as we have not been able to reach an agreement with the contractor that would allow all patients registered at the practices to have access to the additional NHS primary care network services including Extended Hours Access, Structured Medication and Medicines Support, Early Cancer Diagnosis and a Social Prescribing Service.
‘The practices are free to decline to join a network however their patients must be able to access the same services as the rest of our population.
‘We take the health and safety of all our residents seriously and at this time we feel that whilst the care at the practice is not a concern, patients’ inability to access the full range of services available to them places them at a disadvantage if we let this continue as they will not have access to all the beneficial NHS services that have been put in place to care them.’
The CCG added that failure to accept new patients when the list was open was also part of the decision, although Dr Shashikanth said this only applied to one of his practices and that he had ‘reasonable grounds’ not to accept the allocation in question.
The CCG spokesperson continued: ‘It is with great regret that we have had to issue the termination letter and our hope is that we may be able to come to a mutual agreement with the practice that will see the matter resolved without the need for the termination notice to proceed.’
Under the notices, Dr Shashikanth has until this evening to agree a joint referral to the Primary Care Appeals Service (PCAS) for an ‘independent determination of contractual obligations’. Otherwise the contracts for the 4,700-patient West London Medical Centre and 2,600-patient Church Road Surgery will end 22 October.
The BMA and Londonwide LMCs declined to comment on an individual case.