Archive for May, 2009

New health centre opens in High Wycombe

Posted on May 29, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: |

The Practice | Buckinghamshire PCT | News | 29 May 2009

A new health centre has opened in High Wycombe to benefit residents and local businesses. Situated on Cressex Business Park, the state of the art facility has been transformed from a previously unused factory. The 11, 545 sq ft space, known as The Practice Hanover House, has over 50 free parking spaces and will deliver much improved primary care access to residents of High Wycombe and in particular, Cressex and Castlefield.

The health centre contains a GP surgery, specialist out-patient consulting rooms and minor procedure treatment rooms. As well as offering GP led services to existing and newly registered patients, out patient clinics for ophthalmology, dermatology, general surgery, orthopaedics, gynaecology and sexual health will also be available.

‘It has been amazing to see the building transform over the last nine weeks We saw our first patients here on Tuesday and are now looking forward to developing further by offering a wider range of health services and improved access for patients’, commented Dr Jeremy Rose, Clinical Director, The Practice Hanover House.

The Practice Hanover House is located on Cressex Business Park on the corner of Coronation Road and Turnpike Road. Patients wishing to register with a GP at the health centre can do so by phoning 01494 534143 or calling in to request a Welcome Pack. Alternatively, they can download a registration form from the how to register section of this website.

The Practice Hanover House
Coronation Road
Cressex Business Park
High Wycombe
HP12 3PP

t. 01494 534143
f. 01494 526345

Click here for further information on The Practice Hanover House.

For further information on this news item please contact Sarah Jeffery on 01494 690930

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Johnson slates Tory plan to end extended hours

Posted on May 28, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories |

Healthcare Republic | 28 May 2009

Health secretary Alan Johnson has criticised Conservative plans to scrap longer surgery opening hours.

Mr Johnson said: ‘David Cameron’s plan to scrap Labour’s deal with doctors and let GPs go back to setting their own hours would mean that surgeries would no longer have to open at times convenient to patients.

‘Thanks to Labour, nearly three-quarters of GP practices now offer extended opening hours, compared with just 12% last April.

‘David Cameron needs to come clean and to tell patients which GPs would stop offering weekend and evening opening under his unfair plans.’

* Should extended hours be scrapped?

Read next week’s edition of GP dated 5 June for the full story on Conservative plans for extended hours.

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Competition panel looks at NHS provider shift

Posted on May 28, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, Journals | Tags: |

Health Services Journal | BY HELEN CRUMP | 27 May 2009

The co-operation and competition panel is to investigate plans to transfer a primary care trust provider arm’s services to a foundation trust.

The co-operation and competition panel is to investigate plans to transfer a primary care trust provider arm’s services to a foundation trust.

The proposal to shift Barking and Dagenham PCT’s community health services to North East London foundation trust for two years will be the second case to be investigated by the panel, which started work in January.

The combined turnover of the two organisations will be more than the £35m threshold for community service providers at which an assessment is required.

Whether provider arm mergers are anti-competitive is as yet untested but half of PCTs hope to merge provider arms.

Panel director Andrew Taylor said: “Everyone’s going to be paying close attention to see how we deal with it.”

The Department of Health will carry out a “major review” of its principles of co-operation and competition in the summer.

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Potential bidders circle as first NHS trust goes up for grabs

Posted on May 28, 2009. Filed under: Journals | Tags: |

Health Services Journal | BY DAVE WEST | 28 MAY 2009 

Twenty-two NHS organisations, including one based 200 miles away, are vying to take over the first trust offered up for competitive takeover.

Foundations and trusts from regions including the North West and South West have expressed an interest in acquiring or merging with Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership trust, NHS East of England has confirmed.

The strategic health authority says the takeover is the first process of its kind and will establish a model for trusts not expected to achieve foundation status.

Managers are looking to foundations to take over poor performing or unsustainable trusts but HSJ has been told foundations are wary that such moves would affect their own finance and governance risk ratings. This would damage their standing with the regulator Monitor.

NHS East of England director of strategy Stephen Dunn said the NHS transaction manual and Monitor guidance gave some direction to the process. But there were “quite a lot of gaps that need to be filled in”.

“That is why the Department of Health is working with us to clarify some of the finer points of detail, and this can act as a model for future transactions,” he said.

He added Monitor would examine any deal’s effect on existing foundation trusts.

“The challenge for any organisation is to try to ensure that the deal that is done does not increase risk of a potential breach of its terms of authorisation [as a foundation].”

NHS East of England has set a deadline of the end of 2009 for all its trusts to become foundations and is looking for alternatives for others. It is waiting for the Treasury to approve a competitive tender to run Hinchingbrooke Health Care trust as a franchise, which would also be open to the independent sector.

Consultant and former government adviser Michael Macdonnell is working with trusts looking at potential acquisitions and mergers. He warned there was a “policy vacuum” surrounding the process and said trusts wanted assurance they would not be taking a big risk for little benefit.

“From a foundation’s point of view there are very few incentives, and there are few levers to force them to do it. They need a model on how to do it.”

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Doctor argues GP-led centre benefits from unfair funding

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

BMA News | By Mark Foster | 23 May 2009

A GP has levelled a complaint of ‘unfair competition’ against a GP-led health centre that benefits from enhanced funding and performance rewards.

Derbyshire GP John Ashcroft (pictured) told ‘BMA News’ that the Old Station Surgery where he works received about £95 per patient. He said the surgery was situated in a deprived area of Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust.

As of April, the practice faces competition from the Ilkeston Family Practice and Walk-In Centre, which opened around 500m away at Ilkeston Community Hospital. Dr Ashcroft, who was part of a consortium of GP practices that unsuccessfully bid for the health-centre contract, said the centre would receive at least £120 per patient.

‘Unfair competition’
He said: ‘I am not against competition, far from it. What I am against is unfair competition.’

According to ‘Derbyshire County Invitation to Tender Volume 2 – Ilkeston Finance Model’, seen by ‘BMA News’, the GP-led health centre was to have an average cost per patient of £121.52 plus £12.48 per patient contact.

However, extra payments are on offer for achieving new KPI (key performance indicator) targets, which Dr Ashcroft claimed could boost funding to £160 per patient. KPIs exceed the standards set by the GP contract quality and outcomes framework.

Examples include a 12-minute average consultation time, same-day GP appointments, and seeing 85 per cent of walk-in patients within 30 minutes.

The tender’s finance model cites a guaranteed annual contract value of £574,000 in year one and a separate KPI element of around £191,000.

Funding differences
However, a Derbyshire County PCT spokesperson said the guaranteed income for year one of the contract, which was won by Lancashire-based Integral Healthcare Partnership, was just £450,000 and an extra £79,000 was dependent on achieving KPIs.

Another £237,000 was dependent on the number of patients registered and patient contacts at the walk-in centre. The year one target is for 500 registered patients and 20,400 patient contacts.

In subsequent years, guaranteed income decreases and the proportion of funding dependent on KPIs and patient registrations and contacts increases. The PCT spokesperson said the trust was working with all GP practices to improve understanding of historic differences in funding levels and ensure practices were being paid fairly for the services provided.

Derby and Derbyshire Local Medical Committee secretary John Grenville agreed there were funding differences between GP practices in the region.

But he added it was a bit like ‘comparing apples to oranges’, and there was a lot of work to be done before value-for-money assessments could be done comparing existing GP practices with new Equitable Access in Primary Care Services schemes.

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Commissioner-provider divide

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, GP-led health centres, Journals, Polyclinics, Social enterprise | Tags: |

Health Service Journal |YOUR IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS | 26 MAY, 2009 | UPDATED: 28 MAY 2009

By Mark Johnson, managing director of specialist public services law firm TPP Law (

Primary care trusts are facing some critical issues over the integrity of local services as they separate their commissioner and provider functions.

All PCTs must have ensured their provider services arm has moved into a contractual relationship with their PCT commissioning function using the new Standard NHS Contract for Community Services by April 2009. The degree of separation must be sufficient to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, by October 2009, all PCTs must review the operations and governance of their provider services arm to ensure it is the most appropriate form to suit local needs and to declare whether or not they are interested in establishing a social enterprise or community foundation trust for any services and agree a plan with their SHAs for their future development and management.

They must also produce a detailed plan for transforming community services which reflects their future shift to becoming world class commissioners focused around the needs of the local population and the opening up of local markets to competition. This competition is seen as key to driving up standards and improving efficiency.

Undertaking separation will require considerable resources and time – but the unprecedented and detailed review of services this entails should be a very instructive exercise, which will improve customer focus.

There is no prescribed formula for separation: it is a matter for local determination. The options for externalisation range from creation of an arm’s length organisation which remains legally part of the PCT, to creating a new organisation that exists outside the PCT, such as a social enterprise or a community foundation trust; or one which exists in alliance with another organisation or through vertical or horizontal organisation with another provider, such as an acute foundation trust seeking to extend its income from payment by results, or another PCT provider arm respectively.

There are also private sector organisations interested in partnering with PCTs to provide clinical and back-office support, as well as working capital and access to technology.

Provider arms are usually very diverse business units containing a variety of services, ranging from community nursing, older people’s services, specialist therapies, as well as urgent care, to children’s services and sexual health.

There will be no ‘one size fits all’ formula for divesting services. Rural areas will require different solutions to urban areas. In the organisations we have assisted, a mixture of partnerships with other agencies, social enterprise and the voluntary sector have all been feasible options.

In deciding which way to go, avoid creating structures of Byzantine complexity: fragmentation can easily bring a loss of ethos and values and hit staff morale. Any part of the business unit wanting to go it alone must be a viable and sustainable business in its own right. This may imply a preferred supplier contract for the initial years.

Separation will bring some important challenges. There may be change fatigue if the workforce has just undergone reorganisation. New organisations need the right leadership and management skills. In many cases this will come from outside the existing PCT board. New skills such as marketing, raising finance and cashflow management are needed.

PCTs must consider how separation and the consequent loss of control will impact on their ability to implement innovation in care pathways and integrated services. Losing a large section of the workforce into the provider organisation could expose skills gaps in the commissioning arm. Will it be acceptable for some staff to straddle the divide?

Separation will also create tension. Solutions must be locally determined, taking service users along with them; form must follow function. A detailed project plan plus clear processes around information-sharing and confidentiality will be required. The scope of authority and powers delegated to the provider arm must be transparent.

The basis of charging for services will be critically important. This may be the first time that individual services have been rigorously costed.

The absence of national tariffs for community services in the short term will be problematic. Workforce issues, particularly around the transfer of NHS pensions and TUPE rights, require special care.

Successful provider organisations will need high standards of leadership and governance, strategic planning and financial control. To win patient trust and confidence, they will need to display a clear set of values and engage effectively with their local population. The challenge is there to be taken up.

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Exclusive: Half of PCTs use firms to help commission services

Posted on May 21, 2009. Filed under: FESC, News stories | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | 20 May 2009

More than half of PCTs used private companies or consultants to help commission services in 2008/9, a GP newspaper investigation has found.

In addition, a fifth of PCTs use private companies to develop, write or improve their strategic plans, the investigation shows.

Data obtained from 64 PCTs under the Freedom of Information Act show that they paid an average of £284,329 to private firms in 2008/9. PCTs used an average of four firms each to provide advice or support.

14 admitted a private firm was paid to write, develop or improve their annual or long-term strategic plans.

Some PCTs paid private firms huge sums for help. Birmingham East and North PCT paid data supplier Dr Foster more than £990,000 as part of a plan to cut health inequalities.

GP newspaper also found that two SHAs – NHS East of England and NHS North West – employed firms on behalf of PCTs to help develop their strategic plans.

In addition, PCTs are spending tens of thousands of pounds preparing themselves for the scrutiny of the DoH’s World Class Commissioning (WCC) panel. Five PCTs and one SHA – NHS North West – paid private firms to conduct mock interviews to prepare PCT board members for their WCC assessments.

The revelations come as an investigation by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that the NHS spends £350m a year on management consultants, enough to expand the QOF by a third.

Dr David Jenner, practice-based commissioning lead at the NHS Alliance, said it may be effective for smaller PCTs to outsource highly-skilled work but PCTs should ‘be able to write their own plans’.

‘At a time like this we need co-operation, without paying for all the additional costs involved in the private sector, like their advertising.’

Dr Jenner said if a company’s contribution to a PCT’s strategy is not clear, it could be seen by the public as a form of deception.

The DoH approved 14 companies last year for PCTs to use under the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC).

Last year a handful of PCTs, including NHS Northampton and NHS Wigan, announced multi-million pound deals with private firms under the framework.

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Practice win integrated health awards from Prince Charles

Posted on May 21, 2009. Filed under: Integrated care, News stories | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | 20-May-09

Winners of the new NHS category of Prince Charles’s Integrated Health Awards have received presentations from the royal.

The winner of the GP practice category was Patford House Surgery in Calne, Wiltshire, which devised an imaginative project to tackle childhood obesity through local primary schools.

It invited 200 Year 4 children to a Fun Fitness session in January and found that nearly one in four fell outside weight guidelines. This was followed by a 12-week programme. Parents take part in healthy eating sessions, there is even a Michelin-starred chef to advise on tasty dishes, while the children are simultaneously involved in fun physical activities.

The best practice-based commissioning group was STAHCOM, based in St Albans, Hertforshire, which provides a high-volume acupuncture service for osteoarthritis of the knee. Treating four at a time, most patients are 50-80 years old, some previously relying on physiotherapy and lifestyle advice but others facing knee surgery.

Only four out of 42 patients taking part needed to be re-referred for further treatment.

Dr Michael Dixon, The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health’s medical director, said: ‘Both these projects are wonderful examples of what integrated health really means – not just treating people when they are sick, but helping them keep as healthy as possible.’

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Tories backtrack on opposition to GP-led health centres

Posted on May 21, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Polyclinics |

Pulse | 19 May 2009

The Conservative party has made a major U-turn over its opposition to GP-led health centres.

The party had previously warned the rollout of Lord Darzi’s centres could force hundreds of GP surgeries to close.

But Conservative shadow health minister Mark Simmonds now says it has proved ‘not to be the case’ and the party has told Pulse it no longer has any plans to stop the rollout.

The policy reversal came as the Government announced plans to carry out a major evaluation into the impact of the rollout.

Speaking in the debate in Westminster last week, Mr Simmonds said his party’s concerns about the impact of the centres had proven to be wide of the mark.

‘There was genuine concern expressed by patients, particularly in rural areas, that their GP surgery would not exist for much longer. Clearly, however, that will not be the case,’ he said.

The Conservatives had called for the rollout to be halted, but a party spokesman told Pulse that they would honour existing contracts if elected.

‘Existing contracts will be honoured,’ he said. ‘Where they have not been entered into already we will leave it to local decision makers to determine whether there is a need.’

Ministers have faced a deluge of criticism from opposition parties, the Health Select Committee and the BMA over the alleged lack of evidence for the clinics.

Later in a statement to Pulse, Mr Simmonds said: ‘Our position on polyclinics has not changed. We do not object to them in principle, but we oppose them being imposed centrally, particularly where it could undermine local family doctors. Where contracts have already been signed we will honour them, and where contracts have yet to be signed we leave it to local communities to decide whether they need a polyclinic.

‘In cities such as London it is the clearly the case that many single handed GPs will have to close down as polyclinics open, whereas in rural areas it is less likely that practices will actually have to close. Nonetheless there is a danger that many may see detrimental impacts such as a loss of patients or staff.’

Earlier Ben Bradshaw revealed during the debate that the Government will launch a full evaluation of the scheme.

A DH spokesman told Pulse the centres would be evaluated nationally as part of the next stage review, and locally by PCTs, who would decide on which metrics to measure them on.

Dr Stephen Forster, a GP in Heswall, the Wirral, said it was premature for the Conservatives to rule out the possibility of existing practices being threatened by the rollout.

‘I’m not aware of any evidence that’s come that would justify them in saying that. I can’t say why they would, other than they purely think that politically that’s the right thing to say at the moment.’

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Contracts Signed For New Health Centre in Hemel Hempstead

Posted on May 20, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

West Hertfordshire PCT | News Release | 20 April 2009

The new GP-led health centre is set to open its doors in Hemel Hempstead on 1 June this year following signing of contracts between the PCT and the preferred provider of the service.

Following an 8-month comprehensive tender process, West Hertfordshire PCT has awarded the five year contract to Herts Urgent Care to manage and run the centre when it opens.

The new GP-led health centre will work alongside the new Urgent Care Centre on the Hemel Hempstead hospital site. It will be open to people in West Hertfordshire, 8am-8pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year offering a combination of bookable and “walk-in” appointments. Patients will also be able to register with the centre if they wish. In order to do this they would need to switch from their current GP surgery.

Herts Urgent Care is a non profit making social enterprise run by local GPs and patient representatives. It currently provides out-of-hours GP and emergency dental services to the whole of Hertfordshire and is involved in running the Hemel Hempstead Urgent Care Centre as part of the Dacorum Urgent Care Centre Partnership.

Mark Cockerton, Chief Executive of Herts Urgent Care said:
“From Monday 1st June patients throughout West Herts will be able to access a GP at our Centre from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week without needing to make an appointment. Patients will also be able to choose to register with us. We expect that the Centre will be popular with those who find difficulty in accessing a GP during traditional opening hours”.
Andrew Parker, Director of Primary Care for the Hertfordshire PCTs said: “We are very pleased that after months of planning we have now formally signed the contracts for the West Herts Medical Centre – which is what the new centre will be known as. It is now full steam ahead to get the centre up and running”.

West Herts Medical Centre will offer full GP services to patients registered with them together with a range of other health services available to unregistered patients

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Darzi centres ‘pose child protection risk’ and threaten GPs’ future

Posted on May 18, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres | Tags: |

GP-led health centres risk destroying general practice, GPC member Dr Helena McKeown said at the annual spring meeting of the Medical Women’s Federation this month.

She issued a stark warning that GP-led health centres would take the easy patients, leaving traditional general practice to care for the complex, time-consuming and chronically sick.

And she warned that cases of child abuse would go unnoticed in medical environments where doctors are unfamiliar with their patients.

‘My grave concern is that we will be left with the patients who have more complex needs and more complicated conditions, those who are less mobile and present a greater workload.

‘I have huge concerns about child protection. We are the people who are most likely to identify child abuse. Our familiarity with the family and wide knowledge of social issues makes us best placed to spot abuse. The GP-led health centres will not have that level of awareness and there is a potential for risk that we should highlight.’

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GP medical director quits Darzi centre before it opens

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories |

Healthcare Republic | News | 15 May 2009

The medical director of Suffolk’s GP-led health centre has resigned, calling the project ‘a threat to local services’.

Dr Andrew Cornish said it had become ‘just another general practice, funded at a higher rate than other surgeries’.

The Crown Surgery, Suffolk PCT’s GP-led health centre, will open in Haverhill in June.

Dr Cornish was appointed medical director after The Practice plc, a firm that runs several practices, was confirmed as the successful bidder.

But the £1m centre will open initially in temporary facilities. Dr Cornish took the post believing the centre would offer X-rays and ultrasound. However, Suffolk PCT said these services will only be available once the centre moves to a permanent base in three years.

‘I could no longer be involved in something in direct competition with other practices,’ said Dr Cornish, a partner at the nearby Christmas Maltings and Clemence surgeries.

He said the PCT had just cut £300,000 in funding from PMS practices, but was spending £240,000 a year to rent ‘a stack of Portakabins’ to house the Darzi centre. ‘They will be paid per patient considerably more than other practices,’ he said.

Julian Herbert, NHS Suffolk deputy chief executive, was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Dr Cornish’s resignation. The health centre would receive ‘different funding’ because it opened longer hours and offered more services, he said.

No-one from The Practice plc was available to comment.

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Margaret Hodge, MP declaresPorters Avenue Health Centre open

Posted on May 13, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

NHS Barking & Dagenham | Press Release | 13 May 2009

After several years of preparation and planning, Dagenham’s brand new Porters Avenue Health Centre was declared well and truly open for business. Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, performed the opening ceremony, unveiling a plaque marking the occasion.

Mrs Hodge was joined by Stephen Langford, Chief Executive, and Maureen Worby, Chair of NHS Barking and Dagenham, lead officers and councillors from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Paul Jobson, the Chief Executive of Barking & Havering LIFTCo (Local Improvement Finance Trust), and Mr Jack Samuels, one of the first patients to be seen at the new centre, among many more.

NHS Barking and Dagenham commissioned Porters Avenue Health Centre through LIFTCo and it is home to a wide range of NHS and local authority services, including a GP service provided by Concordia Health. Services already in place include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and specialist teams provide support and treatment to people with long term conditions such as chronic heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

The centre’s distinctive modern look owes much to the artwork on the pillars and throughout the building. These were the result of a series of workshops where artists from Studio 3 Arts worked with pupils from St Teresa Primary School, students from Sydney Russell Secondary School, clients with learning difficulties from the Maple Centre, mental health service users, members of a local Age Concern group and the general public.

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be invited to open Porters Avenue Health Centre. It houses a wide range of services, including a new GP practice and specialist mental health and community services which demonstrates how the local authority and the local NHS can work together delivering services residents want on their doorstep. The community services include teams supporting people with long-term debilitating conditions and will provide physiotherapy for those who need it. I am especially pleased that the local community has been involved every step of the way – including in creating the wonderful, bright artwork that gives the building its distinctive look. It’s a very welcome addition to local health services and testimony to the efforts of those who have been committed to improving healthcare provision in the borough.”

Stephen Langford, Chief Executive of NHS Barking and Dagenham, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has had a hand in shaping this modern new health centre, from public consultation several years ago through to construction, design and the superb and unique artwork that brightens the whole building. It’s a place that is welcoming for the people who use it, patients and staff alike.”

Mr Jack Samuels, a Dagenham resident and one of the first patients to use the centre, said: “I’ve been in various places for treatment over the years and this is lovely. The staff are friendly and helpful and it’s much easier for me than going to a big hospital – you don’t have crowds of people to walk through. As it’s on my doorstep it’s much handier for my wife Peggy, who is my lifeline, and takes me to all my appointments.”

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Plan to boost NHS purchasing power

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: , , , |


Financial Times | By Nicholas Timmins, Public Policy Editor | 8 May 2009

New commercial arrangements for the NHS, aimed at boosting the ability of primary care trusts to commission services from the private and voluntary sectors and beefing up the NHS’s buying power, were announced on Thursday.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, which handles about £11bn ($17bn) of NHS business a year, will be broken up. Some £20m will be spent on setting up regional units to provide commercial and market development support to the 152 primary care trusts that buy care on behalf of patients. Several activities, such as buying energy and vehicles, will be transferred to the Office of Government Commerce.

The NHS has signed a 10-year deal with DHL to run a big part of its supply chain.

The department’s private finance unit, which handles PFIs and PPPs, and the remainder of its commercial directorate will be merged.

The NHS, which faces a fierce budgetary squeeze once the government starts to pay for borrowing it has taken on, must get maximum value for money out of the billions of pounds a year it spends on goods and services, said Mark Britnell, the health department’s director-general of commissioning.

Primary care trusts were being encouraged to become commissioners of care but it was “neither possible nor desirable” for all 152 to develop the contract management and procurement skills needed without working with others, he said.

Mike Parish, chairman of the NHS Partners Network, which represents private sector providers of NHS care, said: “This is the right approach, both pragmatically and philosophically.” But he warned that “the proof will come in how effectively these changes are put in place”.

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East Leeds: ‘Super’ health centre to meet targets

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories |

Garforth Today | 7 May 2009

A super health centre in east Leeds is set to meet its targets on patient numbers after 250 people registered in two months. TH1_75200927e4-0705-06-0605-101448

Development of the GP-led surgery in Burmantofts sparked controversy around its effect on other family doctors.

But health bosses insisted it would make it easier for people to access healthcare.

The facility, on the site of Burmantofts Health Centre, is open 8am until 8pm 365 days a year and sees patients with and without appointments.

Known as Shakespeare Medical Practice, it also runs a traditional GP surgery for local people.

It is run by private firm Care UK Clinical Services but provides free NHS healthcare.

Figures revealed to members of Leeds City Council’s health scrutiny board showed in its first week opening in March, 22 patients registered and 47 walked-in for an appointment.

The following week those figures shot up to 40 more registering and 85 attending as a “walk-in”.

A report for councillors said this was in keeping with initial estimates of 1,000 patients registering within the first year.

The board was also told that the practice was working with the community, including the residents of two hostels as well as asylum seekers and refugees.

Dr Damian Riley, director of primary care at NHS Leeds, told the YEP that latest figures showed 250 patients had now registered and 566 patients were seen on a walk-in basis in April.

He added: “Overall, we are delighted with the impact this centre is having in helping local people access a GP.

“Patient feedback has been very positive so far and we look forward to continuing to develop the services provided by this centre in the future.”

Coun Pauleen Grahame, chairman of the health scrutiny board, said their inquiry into the centre had been difficult but they were working with health bosses to ensure there were walk-in services and those for local residents.

Coun Grahame (Lab, Cross Gates and Whinmoor) added: “We have put a recommendation in for it to go to our working group and in six months to get a report.”

She said they wanted to continue to monitor the centre’s performance,

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Necessity – not nicety: A new commercial operating model for the NHS and Department of Health

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Reports/papers | Tags: , |

Department of Health | 7 May 2009

Over the coming years, the NHS faces the challenge of continuing to improve the quality, accessibility and range of services for patients while driving efficiency hard and securing better value for money for the taxpayer. Reforms over the past decade – plurality in provision, improved commissioning, greater choice, more information for patients and contestability – provide a powerful set of levers and a tremendous opportunity to meet this challenge.

Over the last eight months, we have worked closely with a wide range of partners – including NHS providers, commissioners, the independent sector, suppliers of health goods and services, procurement experts, the Treasury, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and staff in the Department of Health (DH) – to identify how improved commercial capability can help meet our shared aspirations for the NHS in England. The strong consensus has been that the NHS and DH need commercial skills as never before. There is also agreement that existing arrangements and status quo will not deliver the step-improvement in capability now required for the challenging times ahead.

This document sets out why commercial skills are now integral to the NHS at all levels. It describes a new operating model for commercial capability – the way commercial skills will be organised and applied at different levels across the NHS to have maximum impact – drawing heavily on the discussions of the past months. It outlines the benefits for key groups in the NHS and DH and it sets out how we are committed to working with a range of delivery partners to bring the new operating model into being quickly – and in doing so make a timely and telling response to the ambitious efficiency challenge laid down in the 2009 Budget.

DoH says NHS needs private sector ‘more than ever’

Healthcare Republic | 12 May 2009

The NHS needs the private and third sector ‘more than ever’ according to the DoH’s latest guidance.

£20m will be spent on ‘commercial support units’ to stimulate the market and ‘secure better value for money for goods and services procured’.

The document, Necessity, not Nicety, sets out the DoH’s latest ambitions to use commercial skills and competition to make ‘unprecedented’ efficiency savings in the future.

A ‘strategic market development unit’ and ‘Procurement, Investment and Commercial Division’ will also be formed to stimulate competition and enhance procurement skills.

The new units will also provide tendering skills for NHS providers.

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Commerce units will boost NHS market activity

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: Journals | Tags: , |

Health Services Journal | BY HELEN CRUMP | 7 May 2009

A £20m network of around 20 commercial support units will be set up to boost primary care trusts’ efforts to stimulate the market.

The Department of Health’s commercial strategy, expected today, confirms that it will axe the commercial directorate and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency.

DH director general for commissioning and system management Mark Britnell said the plans were the DH’s first formal response to the Budget and would help the NHS “meet some of the challenges laid out”.

The Budget said PCTs will be expected to save £500m a year through more efficient commissioning. Market stimulation was the area commissioners performed worst at in the first year of world class commissioning.

Mr Britnell told HSJ that if commissioners did not understand how to stimulate the market, the NHS “would not be in the strongest position to meet the downturn”.

The units, which will employ lawyers and accountants, are tasked with boosting performance on market stimulation and contracting, supporting commissioners and providers, and providing a point of contact for the third, voluntary and private sectors.

But PCTs will still be legally responsible for all contracts in their areas.

PCTs will be encouraged to participate by being held back at level one in world class commissioning’s market stimulation and contract management competencies unless they can show they are performing at the same level as the units.

The DH hopes joint working through the units will allow commissioners to pool the available talent and improve more quickly.

Mr Britnell said: “It is neither feasible nor desirable for 152 PCTs to develop world class commercial and procurement skills.

“And as we move into a colder economic climate for public services, we don’t wish to encourage PCTs to have stand-alone commercial and procurement functions.”

The Purchasing and Supply Agency’s sourcing activities will be merged into the Office of Government Commerce’s Buying Solutions agency – including setting up an NHS-facing buying arm.

Other activities will move into the new regional units and local procurement hubs will be expected to realign with the regional units to boost the NHS supply chain’s efficiency.

The DH will have a new procurement, investment and commercial division to strengthen its commercial and procurement support, and a strategic market development unit, to provide leadership and support for commissioners in market analysis and market-making.

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David Colin-Thomé on commissioning in the NHS

Posted on May 6, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, Journals, Social enterprise |

Health Services Journal | 6 May 2009

David Colin-Thomé talks about the principles behind keeping providers at arms length from primary care trusts

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New GP practice opens its doors in Feltham today

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

The Practice | NHS Hounslow | News | 5 May 2009

A new GP practice opens today (5 May 2009) in Central Feltham. The Practice Feltham Centre will join the four other GP practices at The Feltham Centre for Health.

This is part of NHS Hounslow’s drive to improve access to primary care services by: increasing the number of GP practices across Hounslow; working with GPs to extend opening hours, patients can see many GPs early morning, evening and Saturday morning; opening a new a walk-in service at The Heart of Hounslow (8am to 8pm every 365 days a year) increasing the opportunities to see a GP at a time that is convenient.

Dr Rahat Ghazanfar, GP at the newly opened surgery, The Practice Feltham Centre, said “This is a great facility and I’m happy to be part of delivering better services for patients in the area. I’m a GP here and also at Heart of Hounslow where we provide a walk-in service. The feedback from patients is already very positive – they very much like the choice now available and added ease in seeing a GP.”

You can phone The Practice Feltham Centre on 020 8104 0840.

To get the most out of the NHS, patients need to be registered with a GP practice. To find a GP practice, patients can type in their home postcode on the NHS choices website and find a list of the local surgeries, doctors and details of their opening times. GP surgeries have their own geographical areas they serve and whilst a postcode search may highlight the nearest surgery, it does not necessarily mean that you will be automatically be able to register there.

NHS Hounslow’s Patient Experience Team can help with questions or provide help to patients registering with a GP surgery of your choice, they can be contacted by

  • calling free phone 0800 953 0676
  • email at

     For further information on this news item please contact Sarah Jeffery on 01494 690930

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    Polyclinic sparks competition for practices’ patients

    Posted on May 2, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

    Healthcare Republic | 1 May 2009

    London’s first polyclinic will mean local practices have to fight to hang on to their patients, the local PCT professional executive committee (PEC) chairman has admitted.

    Lord Darzi officially opened the new Loxford Polyclinic – a converted pub in Ilford, east London – last week. It will act as a ‘hub’, providing services to four nearby ‘spoke’ practices, in a combined ‘polysystem’ serving 50,000 patients.

    The new centre will house two existing practices, with a combined list of 12,000. But the practices – Henley Road and John Telford Clinic – hope to increase this to 20,000 by the end of the third year.

    Dr Richard Price, chairman of Redbridge PCT’s PEC said it was a ‘fact’ that other practices could lose patients to the new polyclinic.

    ‘If you’re a patient of a doctor based in a terraced house, where there isn’t a nurse, you may well think, ‘I’m going to register here.’ It’s a fact you can’t get away from. We have to be transparent about mitigating it.’

    He added that the PCT wanted to ‘cooperate on ways of driving up the quality of the spokes as well as hub’.
    The polyclinic includes 59 consulting rooms, as well as three minor surgery rooms. It will provide a range of services including pharmacy, dentistry, X-rays and diagnostics.

    The new centre will open to the public in June.

    • Read next week’s issue of GP dated 8 May for the full version of this story.
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