By Ian Quinn
Private provider The Practice has taken over Chilvers and McCrea Ltd, taking its growing business to 50 practices and GP-led health centres.
After completing the deal, the company predicted that smaller organisations would no longer be able to survive under the Government's white paper plans.
Private firms are bidding to take advantage of the Government's plans by offering national-scale operations as providers and also offering commissioning support, but the move suggests there will be a survival of the biggest.
Dr Sarah Chilvers and Dr Rory McCrea, founders of Chilvers and McCrea Ltd, said selling the business to The Practice would give it 'longer term greater financial security' benefiting ‘patients, stakeholders and surgery staff alike'.
Peter Watts, chief executive of The Practice, which has won a raft of recent contracts to run Darzi centres and has been launching a major recruitment drive for GPs to work in its practices across the country, said: ‘As a result of the white paper ‘Liberating the NHS', it is clear that providers of primary care need to be more cohesive in how they deliver care to patients.'
‘It is my belief that in order to be a fit-for-purpose organisation, we need to create a health eco-system with a scale and complexity that small localised organisations alone cannot achieve.'
Mr Watts added: ‘Sarah, Rory and I have frequently discussed the positive opportunities in providing primary healthcare as a combined organisation on behalf of the NHS. Over the years we have continued to identify the strong synergy between our respective organisations and with a radical shake-up of the NHS imminent, we feel that now is the right time to effect the integration necessary to realise this shared vision.'
Dr McCrea said: ‘We will be working closely with The Practice during the coming months to ensure the successful integration of the two organisations and the continued high quality of care for patients.'
‘Sarah and I will be stepping down from the day-to-day running of the business but are excited by the prospect of being able to focus on a number of strategic projects and healthcare initiatives for the group. Additionally we are continuing to offer our expertise to other healthcare and NHS bodies through ChilversMcCrea Healthcare.'The Practice now runs 50 GP practices across the country The Practice now runs 50 GP practices across the country