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Patients raise money to help GP keep APMS contract

Patients raise money to help GP keep APMS contract

Patients at a surgery in Lancashire are fundraising to pay a professional bid writer to help their GP keep her contract.

Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB decided in March that it will go ahead with its controversial plan to put Withnell Health Centre’s APMS contract out to a competitive re-tender.

The practice in Chorley has been run by GP partner Dr Ann Robinson for 11 years but her time-limited APMS contract runs out in September, and she will have to compete again with other providers and submit a bid to keep the surgery.

Now the surgery’s patients have launched a fundraiser to pay for part of the bidding process later this year, including a professional writer to write the bid. So far, they have raised nearly £6,000.

The ICB had already awarded the Withnell Health Centre contract to another provider, SSP Health, following a procurement process in 2022, however it decided to extend Dr Ann Robinson’s APMS contract to September this year following the patient protests, which had including hundreds of letters.

At the time, Dr Robinson said the public were not properly consulted and hosted multiple protests at the practice demanding a review of the procurement process. 

The fundraising page said: ‘Dr Robinson is now facing a third bidding process and another large bill to hire a bid writer to help her and her team keep the health centre.

‘This Go Fund Me is specifically to raise the money to pay the bid writer, that person will help Dr Robinson hopefully win the procurement in October.’

Dr Robinson told Pulse that the patient support ‘has been overwhelming’.

She said: ‘We are so grateful and thankful for all the support. People have been very generous in donating.

‘The practice will use this money to pay for professional bid writing support to help with the bid. It seems terrible that we are in this position.

‘It shows again the strength of feeling in the community. People want a community health centre , run by and for members of the community. Patients want to be treated as individuals, not processed as numbers.’

After seeking legal advice, the ICB’s primary care commissioning committee made the final decision to go ahead with the competitive tender ‘as quickly as possible’, as it said it believed this is ‘the quickest route to securing the best outcome’ for Withnell Health Centre and its patients and staff.