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GP practices could face ‘£500,000 clawback’ following PCN’s collapse

GP practices could face ‘£500,000 clawback’ following PCN’s collapse

Exclusive A group of practices across Norwich could face a £500,000 funding clawback following the sudden collapse of a company supporting the local PCN, it has been claimed.

OneNorwich Practices, a company which supported Norwich PCN and had been commissioned by the local ICB to deliver primary medical services in Norwich and the surrounding areas, announced that its business ‘could not remain financially sustainable’ and shut down at the end of last year.

According to an ICB report shared with Norfolk County Council in March, the company entered the 2023/24 financial year ‘with a recurrent financial shortfall of around £1.8m’.

A Norwich City Council meeting was then told that there ‘is a worry that £500,000 worth’ of the remaining deficit ‘will have to be picked up by Norwich practices’.

Green party councillor Lucy Galvin said that several whistleblowers had been in touch with her with concerns about the effects of the collapse on the city’s practices.

Councillor Galvin told the meeting: ‘It is a very complicated situation and what came through from the meeting today is that £1.4m deficit still now has to be picked up somewhere, and there is a worry that £500,000 worth of that will have to be picked up by Norwich practices, so it is a really worrying situation.

‘I think it hasn’t been adequately understood what actually did happen and there does need to be an independent enquiry which takes in the testimony of these many people that have been in touch because it is the patients who suffer at the end of the day.

‘This was a collapse that wasn’t foreseen, it was cataclysmic, and problematic.’

A document containing whistleblowers’ accounts on the collapse of the company, circulated to county councillors and seen by Pulse, said that the ICB is ‘looking to claw back over-claimed staffing funding’ for ARRS roles.

One whistleblower account said: ‘We are under the impression that the ICB is looking to claw back over-claimed staffing funding for primary care Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme roles.

‘We believe that this sum could be in the region of £500k that will need to be paid from practices’ income and that will have a direct result in patient care available in the city.’

Norfolk County Council has already agreed to scrutinise the PCN collapse but the document said whistleblowers ‘all hope that there will be a chance soon for their experiences to be recorded officially in an independent statutory enquiry, and for their concerns to be addressed’.

Councillor Galvin told Pulse: ‘A great number of staff have come forward to me with deep concerns and details about financial and other mismanagement over the past two years at One Norwich Practices, which was for years a going concern.

‘These are issues which must be revealed in the public domain with an independent enquiry.’

The ICB told the county council in its report that ‘several areas may have contributed towards the collapse of OneNorwich Practices’, but that ‘not all of these will have been known to the ICB’.

In the same report, OneNorwich interim chair David White said that between June and September last year, the company made ‘a significant funding case’ to the ICB around redressing the existing financial arrangements associated with major service contracts and a request for short term financial cash flow support until June 2024.

He added that when this funding case ‘was not fully supported by the ICB’, the board of directors commissioned an immediate assessment of the company’s solvency position, which confirmed that the company was insolvent as there was ‘insufficient cash flow to maintain existing operational services’ beyond December 2023.

Norfork and Waveney ICB declined to comment. Pulse has also attempted to contact OneNorwich Practices for comment.

OneNorwich Practices had been commissioned by the local ICB to deliver primary medical services in Norwich and the surrounding areas, including: Norwich Practices Health Centre, the Norwich Walk-in Centre, a vulnerable adults service, a lymphoedema service, an asthma-in-schools pilot as well as other targeted patient services.

Following the collapse, Norwich’s practices, 22 in total, are now grouped into four PCNs, rather than a single PCN covering the whole city.

Last year, Norwich PCN was named PCN of the year for an initiative which cut hospital admissions by 44%, saving around half a million pounds for its system.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Centreground Centreground 23 April, 2024 12:28 pm

Financial ineptitude and sheer abuse of position (not referring to this particular group) within and amongst multiple PCNs and PCN Clinical Directors facilitated by ICBs and NHS England across the country is an absolute scandal and travesty and there are simply no words to explain the absolute catastrophe caused in so many respects by these organisations.
How much money would have been saved if this had not been allowed and how many lives have been lost and misery caused through increased morbidity due to lost NHS funding which could have been better directed.

David Church 23 April, 2024 12:55 pm

If it has collapsed, how can it claim a clawback?
There is no point giving money to any company that has folded, as it will be swallowed up with no benefir tto anybody.

Just My Opinion 23 April, 2024 4:34 pm

Looks like they claimed ARRS they were not entitled to, and the ICB wants it back, if the company no longer exists, this will default to the practices.
The sad thing is, this money was probably claimed in good faith, and compared to the billions wasted by the hospitals is nothing (our ICB rounds its accounts to the nearest million, so this amount would probably not even show on its balance sheet).