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Mental health trust to run GP practices alongside GP provider company

A mental health trust and a GP provider company will jointly run five GP practices over the next 15 years after they won an APMS contract bid.

The two contracts will cover 21,500 patients in total from 1 April, including a group of four GP practices and a walk-in centre.

Primary Care Sheffield – which calls itself a ’GP led, social purpose company spanning the majority of Sheffield practices’ – said they wanted patients to not have to go to two different doctors for their physical and mental health needs.

As a result, they decided to bid jointly with the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust when the contracts in the city came up for renewal.

The contract for the Clover Group of four GP practices was already held by the mental health trust, but they have added the Sheffield City GP Medical Centre, a walk-in centre which also registers patients.

Primary Care Sheffield director Dr Julie Endacott said the mental health care trust’s work was already ‘very closely linked with GP services’.

She said the practices were based in deprived areas of Sheffield where there was a high prevalence of mental illness and also physical long-term conditions which can impact on a patient’s mental health.

Dr Endacott added: ‘These contracts were out to tender and we believe we need to work closely with our care trust so we decided to submit a joint bid with them. They have a lot to offer with regards to looking after severely mentally ill patients and mentally ill patients in the community, which is very closely linked to what GPs do.

’We felt that because there were so many similarities, we needed to join up services so that patients get a better deal and their physical and mental health needs are looked after together and they don’t have to go see two different doctors.’

Dr Endacott, a local GP whose provider company already runs a £9.3m seven-day access pilot as part of the second-wave Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, said the joint venture would also be willing to take on the contracts of more GP practices in future.

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Kevan Taylor said: ’This partnership is an innovation for Sheffield and we are proud to be at the forefront of devising better access to primary care.

‘As a trust we are committed to improving the physical health of our service users and we believe that by working together, with our partners in the city, we can have a significant, positive impact on people’s physical wellbeing.’