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International arms firm drops interest in £1bn GP support services contract

Weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin has said it will not be bidding for a £1 billion contract to run GP support services, despite attending an earlier meeting with interested private sector partners.

Pulse has previously reported that the £100 million a year contract to provide Primary Care Support services would be going out to a private tender, in a bid to shave £40 million a year from operating costs.

And The Independent reported last week that the aerospace and defence company was one of a number of private sector providers attending a preliminary meeting about what the contract would entail.

But Pulse has now been told it will not be pursuing a bid to provide the back-office functions ahead of the 11 December deadline for submissions.

The winning bidder will take on responsibility for administering payments to primary care suppliers, managing the transfer of medical records and countering fraud, the tender also states they will have to operate a ‘transformation plan to enhance service quality and value for money’.

A Lockheed Martin UK spokesperson told Pulse: ‘Our UK workforce already delivers IT systems to protect and enhance national industry, critical infrastructure and justice systems. Our technology enables NATS to navigate more than two million commercial flights safely across UK skies each year and ensures Royal Mail can deliver more than fifty million items daily.

‘We continue to explore further opportunities in the public sector and although we recently attended a meeting about a potential NHS contract, we decided not to enter the bidding process on this occasion.’

The GPC has previously highlighted cuts to PCS as being partly responsible for problems with GP payments, which have been ongoing since the 2013 reforms.