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GPs working under ‘voluntary contract’ to face extra layer of regulation

One of NHS England’s ‘new models of care’ is launching a £500,000 procurement process to appoint a regulator, who will hold GPs working under its ‘voluntary contract’ to account.

The ‘multispeciality community provider’ in Hampshire, which will provide both primary and secondary care, is inviting GPs to bid for the contract to work as an ‘integrator’.

They will be responsible for holding the system – including GPs working in the care model – to account.

As part of this new MCP model, four practices agreed to give up their contract in April to work under the local hospital, the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Speaking at the Health+Care conference today, Dr Donal Collins, clinical lead for the MCP, said the regulator ‘will regularly measure and hold to account’ those involved in the new model of care, ‘giving accountability at all levels: accountability towards the GP, accountability to the practice and accountability to the system’.

According to the tender document, the integrator will be looking to ‘drive short and medium term cost savings’ by identifying ‘reduction of unwarranted variation’ among other responsibilities.

Kerry Cooper, general manager for the MCP, told Pulse: ‘The role of the integrator is to help us see the opportunities in our wider health economy where we can actually be delivering the outcomes.

‘So their role is to look across the organisations and to help us have some of those quite gritty conversations, which sometimes we need that extra support to be able to do.’ 

When asked what ramifications GPs could face should they fail to comply with the demands of the new care model, Ms Cooper said it was too early to tell.

She said: ‘We will know what the ramifications are when we identify what improvements are needed.

‘We know from other organisations that have worked with an integrator, it takes a while for them to understand the economy and the way that the system is currently working so that they can provide the best approach.’

The winning bid is expected to be announced by the MCP on 31 July.