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Practices take on 10,000 patients as five APMS practices not ‘value for money’

A CCG in Yorkshire is proposing to close down two APMS practices – containing five surgeries – as they are ‘not good value for money’, with the patients dispersed to neighbouring practices. 

NHS Calderdale CCG is planning to close the surgeries when the contracts with two private providers are due to expire in March. 

The CCG said it was ‘confident’ neighbouring practices will be able to take on the patients, and has asked them to keep their lists open. 

The CCG has justified the closure of the two practices – one with three branches and the other with two – by saying APMS contracts are not good ‘value for money’ and that the CCG has not been able to find new providers for the practices.

The two contracts were expected to serve 18,000 patients in total but only 10,000 patients have signed up, according to the CCG. 

Commissioners also stated that due to the short-term nature of the APMS contracts, the practices have struggled to employ permanent GPs.

Meadow Dale Group Practice is operated by Virgin Care LLP in three branches in Elland, Sowerby Bridge and Ovenden, which covers almost 4,500 patients. Private provider Locala CIC runs Park and Calder Community practice in central Halifax and Todmorden delivering GP services for almost 5,600 patients.

Patients will be dispersed to practices in the area according to postcode, but in pre-consultation papers, general comments from the public were concerned about the surrounding practices not being able to cope with additional patients.

An NHS Calderdale CCG spokesperson told Pulse: ‘In addition to understanding the impact of our plan on patients, we are also in close dialogue with neighbouring practices and other stakeholders, to ensure we have the plans, resource and capacity to support a smooth transition.’

The CCG also said it will ‘try again’ to find another provider in Todmorden because, according to FAQs on the issue, it does not know if there is ‘enough capacity’ for patients at the local practice.

On its website, the CCG said: ‘The CCG has tried to find an organisation to run the sites but has not been successful.

‘We want to make sure patients have a long-term solution for their GP services. The APMS contracts are not good value for money. They cost up to double the amount of regular GP contracts and not enough patients have registered with them.

‘We are going to try again in Todmorden because we don’t know if there is enough capacity for patients at the local practice.’

The CCG has opened a survey to the public, which will close on 6 December. A decision will be made on the surgeries in January next year.