Armed Forces firm to run Bestwood GP practice

Posted on August 18, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Nottingham Evening Post | Nottingham City PCT | 18 August 2009

A COMPANY which supports people in the Armed Forces is to run a new GP practice in Bestwood.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) should sign the contract later this year.

The “care community interest company” supports people who are serving or who have served in the Armed Forces as well as their families around the world.

The GP practice in Bestwood is the fourth to be created in Nottingham as part of efforts to improve access to healthcare in some parts of the city.

NHS Nottingham City put the contracts to run the practices out to tender – meaning third party companies can bid to take them on. But bids to run the surgery in Bestwood were originally ruled to be “below an acceptable standard” and the contract was re-tendered.

Up to 6,000 patients are set to benefit from the new GP practice, though the exact location has yet to be chosen.

NHS Nottingham City chief executive Andrew Kenworthy said the decision was “great news” for people in the Bestwood area. He said: “We’re really looking forward to working with SSAFA to finalise and sign contracts.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work together and make sure the new services are top quality, and have a real impact on the health of local people.”

SSAFA provides general medical help to the families of people in the Armed Forces in countries including Germany, Belgium, Holland, Cyprus and Canada.

In recent months it has been chosen to run a new GP-led health centre in Leicester and a practice in Luton.

Managing director Paul Branscombe said staff would be able to move quickly once details had been finalised.

He said: “We have got that expertise, we do it to a very high standard and we do it in places where conditions are quite adverse. We are organised as a community interest company. Although it will be run to the best standards it possibly can, we are not there to make money for our partners.”

Chris Locke, chief executive of the Notts Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs, said the SSAFA was an “unknown quantity”.

But he said: “Someone who is not in it for their shareholders is always going to have more credibility.

“Bestwood has been identified as posing particular challenges in having high levels of ill-health.”

robert.parsons@nottinghameveningpost.co.uk

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