Archive for October, 2009

Tory plan could give GPs interest bonanza

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: Journals | Tags: |

Health Service Journal | BY SALLY GAINSBURYSTEVE FORD | 22 October 2009

GP practices could earn thousands of pounds a year in interest payments under Conservative plans to turn practice based commissioning budgets into “hard cash”.

At present, primary care trusts spend on average £1,600 per head of population. Under Conservative plans to extend the scope of practice based commissioning, the average GP practice with 6,000 patients could be handed a cash budget of around £7m if practices were given responsibility for 70 per cent of the budget.

HSJ has calculated that if just half of that budget was stored for six months of the year in a deposit bank account paying 3 per cent interest, a typical practice could earn an extra £105,000 a year – a sum equivalent to an entire year’s pay for an average GP.

Most practices are expected to group together into consortia, covering populations of around 100,000, or 17 average size practices. That could translate into annual interest earnings of around £840,000.

A Conservative spokesman confirmed the party planned to transfer hard cash budgets into consortia bank accounts, but said interest earned could not be taken as profit. He said: “Any interest earned would have to be used to invest in patient care, not for their own profit.”

He said the party had yet to decide precisely how and when in the financial year cash budgets would be transferred toGPs.

Public finance experts have questioned how workable the plans are. For example they could involve the Treasury laying out up to 70 per cent of the NHS budget on “day one” of the financial year, as opposed to the current system where PCTs “draw down” funds when they are needed.

That would have implications for Treasury borrowing needs and, after the collapse of the Icelandic banks, there will be concerns about GPs’ ability to make wise choices about where to store money.

Jeff Finney, chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and director of a GP accountancy service, told HSJ practice consortia would need to set themselves up as not-for-profit entities in order to ensure interest earnings were not taken as profit.

The questions over GPs holding their own budgets follow national primary care director David Colin-Thomé’s admission last week, revealed by HSJ, that efforts to reinvigorate practice based commissioning have so far failed. He described the policy as a “corpse not for resuscitation”.

Social Market Foundation head of strategic development David Furness said it was time to stop ploughing money into expanding GP commissioning.

Mr Furness said at least £100m had been spent on trying to reinvigorate practice based commissioning through entitlements, and it was time to “turn off this tap”.

“Let it work where it is working,” he said. “But let’s stop trying to drive it from the centre.”

He said it was wrong in the current financial climate to place the “onus” for commissioning on those whose primary role was clinical practice, and the role of PCT commissioners should be strengthened instead.

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‘Deaf trust’ forgets about consultation

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

Ilford Recorder | NHS Redbridge | 22 October 2009

YET again, the Primary Care Trust has let us down. Two weeks ago Conor Burke, borough managing director of NHS Redbridge, came to our Area committee four meeting to discuss proposals for polyclinics. 

He advised us the primary care trust would only go ahead after consultation with residents. 

He said there were no immediate plans to close the A&E at King George Hospital. Yet we learn plans are in place for a new polyclinic to replace the A&E. 

The trust’s idea of consultation is “They talk, we listen, our views fall upon deaf ears” and they go ahead and do what they damn well please. 

We have more than 250,000 people in our borough and nearly 50 surgeries. 

In October 2007, we succeeded in keeping the surgery open in Spearpoint Gardens, only because I brought it to the attention of residents that when a doctor retired the trust intended to ship patients to a surgery in Cameron Road, Seven Kings – without consultation. 

There are no direct bus routes from Spearpoint Gardens to Cameron Road, which is a 2.5-mile round trip. 

The trust then held “consultation meetings” near Christmas, when most of us have other things on our minds and they were not advertised well. 

The surgery in Spearpoint Gardens was given 18 months’ grace, and 19 months later we hear on the grapevine this is one of the surgeries to go into the new polyclinic at King George. 

Were any patients consulted? Were the staff consulted? Of course not. 

The government does not have the funding to maintain our hospitals. 

How can we expect them to build and maintain polyclinics? 

In an ideal world large clinics with up-to-date equipment, fully staffed and accessible to all, with sufficient parking, would be first class. 

But we don’t live in an ideal world and considering it is normally the residents, who are in ill health and who visit the surgeries, it beggars belief you will have to be fit and healthy to get there because of where the trust wants to locate them.

This is why small local practices work – they are local.

Your GPs, as you know them now, will not have their own “office space” in a polyclinic. The room will be shared by other GPs. 

You will be lucky to see the same one twice .This will be the end of an era. 

Our community spirited GPs will be swallowed up by the system and evolve as polyclinic consultants, and the rest will be put out to pasture. So, there you go – NHS cutbacks. 

Our hospitals cannot cope now. 

Queen’s is a disaster, wonderful hospital, first class equipment, but under staffed. 

I have had an appointment cancelled by Queen’s five times in three months. 

If the trust wants to be open and transparent, why doesn’t it give three months’ notice, hold a meeting in the town hall and invite residents to air their views? 

Proposals to abolish small independent surgeries are a liability. The patients will suffer. 

The system of polyclinics is untried, untested, unworkable and unwanted. 

Why are the PCT not listening? 

My diagnosis? Impaired hearing and selective memory.


Aldborough Ward

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PCT offers practices £220k to create partnerships

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Healthcare Republic | Jonn Elledge | Essex PCT | 22 October 2009

A PCT in Essex has offered practices £220,000 to create partnerships if they abandon GMS status.

GMS practices in south west Essex will be offered £220,000 over four years to pay for an additional partner. 

In exchange, the practices have to switch to PMS or APMS status.

NHS South West Essex said the move was intended to attract more GPs to the area, and to smooth succession at a number of single-handed practices where partners are up for retirement.

‘The aim of this scheme is to recruit young, innovative GPs into the areas of most need and to enable these GPs to establish their careers,’ said a spokesman. ‘It will enable smaller practices to develop into larger surgeries offering more GPs, providing additional capacity able to respond to the growing population in these areas.’

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMC, welcomed it as a ‘genuine attempt to attract new GPs into an area which badly needs partners’. 

The PCT had wanted all practices in the scheme to move onto APMS contracts, he said. But he persuaded the PCT that GPs would not be prepared to relocate to take up a contract that could be cancelled after three years.

‘What practices gain outweighs the extra PCT control’ involved in moving to PMS status, he added.

The scheme offers practices £80,000 in year one, £80,000 in year two, and £60,000 split over the following two years. So far five practices are thought to be involved.

The move was announced in the Essex LMC newsletter.

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Moving to a Darzi centre pays off

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Healthcare Republic | GP Newspaper | 22 October 2009

Taking a salaried job at a new GP-led health centre has revitalised my career, says Dr Sally Johnson.

Dr Sally Johnson has clinical responsibility for the GPs and nurses working at Ashford Health Centre

Dr Sally Johnson has clinical responsibility for the GPs and nurses working at Ashford Health Centre

Earlier this year I left the perceived safety of traditional general practice and became GP lead at a Darzi centre in Ashford, Surrey that also houses an NHS walk-in centre and a new GP surgery. Independent company Greenbrook Healthcare runs the centre.

Despite initial misgivings, I believe that this career leap is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

After qualifying in 1993 I spent five years in paediatrics but switched to general practice after my first child’s birth. I had two more children and opted for part-time salaried GP posts, supplementing my GP sessions with paediatrics and teaching work as I moved around following my husband’s career.

About three years ago we moved to the outer London suburbs. My youngest child was starting school and I felt the time was right to increase my hours and become a GP partner.

Partnership plans foiled

What I had not factored into my plan was that post-new GMS contract, many partnerships no longer wanted to promote younger GPs to partners.

A couple of practices did offer me salaried positions while I was doing locum work. These were for less than my earnings five years previously and on terms not as good as the model salaried GP contract.

I was not happy at the thought of being a salaried GP for the next 25 years, with no prospect of developing management skills or becoming a GP trainer.

Early this year I saw Greenbrook’s advert for a lead GP at a new GP-led heath centre in Surrey. Although the post was salaried, it would give me the chance to broaden my skills.

Greenbrook is a GP-led company that evolved from a west London practice. I met the Greenbrook team and was impressed with its offer: model salaried GP contract, better than average salary and NHS pension scheme. So here I am six months later.

I spent my first two months working with the business and clinical directors preparing to open the Ashford Health Centre, which is a completely refurbished building with state of the art facilities including on-site radiology. We opened our doors on 1 July.

The team includes three other salaried GPs, 10 emergency nurse practitioners, a business manager and Greenbrook’s hands-on senior managers.

The walk-in centre deals with all minor illnesses and injuries and opens 8am to 10pm seven days a week. We see 70 to 100 walk-in patients a day, and the challenges are many and varied.

It has been a wake up call to be thrown into the front line of unscheduled medicine again.

Some local residents still mistake us for a full A&E – we are on Ashford Hospital’s site – so we see more than our fair share of acute MIs and so on. Our nurse practitioners are highly skilled in A&E and the hospital’s A&E unit provides support.

Re-awakening old skills and working with nurses as true team members is refreshing. And local residents love having walk-in access to a GP seven days a week.

With four permanent GPs at the new practice, we can offer continuity of care with appointments available 12 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Anyone in our catchment area can register and we go out of our way to help homeless and other vulnerable patients who can find registering with a practice difficult.

We are already exceeding the PCT’s target for annual patient registrations.

Each GP is encouraged to develop a specialist skill for which training is funded. Alongside chronic disease management and QOF work, on the walk-in side we manage all illnesses for all ages.

With the nurse practitioners’ support, our injuries management includes fracture diagnosis, plastering, burns, laceration sutures and so forth.

Clinical responsibility

As part of developing integrated care pathways, we are bringing in community-based services including teenage sexual health clinics, district nurses, physiotherapists and counsellors. There are also plans to bring in some secondary care clinics – such as cardiology, genito-urinary and dermatology.

As GP lead I have clinical responsibility for the GPs and nurses. I spend half my time on management and half working clinical sessions. I run the GP rota, the in-house appraisals, clinical protocols development and have day-to-day responsibility for clinical governance.

I can also work with Greenbrook’s management team on new business ideas.

For GPs with extensive clinical experience but frustrated by the lack of partnership opportunities, GP lead posts at Darzi centres offer a lot.

Chance to develop

Working alongside colleagues with extensive business experience means I can learn management skills from experts. Working with a young, innovative company allows me to develop ideas to improve patient care and accessibility.

There are very few downsides. The main one is the seven-day a week shift system, but this is a small price to pay compared with the other opportunities.

For GPs worried about plunging into the world of private providers, I say go for it. Do your research, make sure the company is offering the model salaried GP contract (and, if possible, the NHS pension scheme), and that the management team is genuinely responsive to clinicians’ ideas and needs.

What do you stand to lose?

Dr Johnson is a salaried GP lead in Ashford, Surrey.


GP-led health centre: Run by private company Greenbrook Healthcare ( which operates six other GP practices near west London.

Location: Ashford, Surrey.

Staff: Include GP lead and three other GPs; 10 emergency nurse practitioners and a business manager.

GPs’ employment terms: Model salaried GP contract, NHS pension scheme, funding for GPSI training.

Opening hours: GP surgery: appointments 12 hours per day, 365 days a year. Walk-in clinic: 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year.

Future plans: District nurses, counsellors and physiotherapists; teenage sexual health, cardiology, genito-urinary and dermatology clinics; further developing integrated models of care.

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PCT faces High Court over contract award

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Polyclinics | Tags: , , |

Pulse | By Gareth Iacobucci | 21 October 2009

A PCT is facing a High Court battle over its decision to award a GP-led health centre to private firm Care UK.

Residents have begun legal action against NHS Camden over an alleged lack of consultation on the centre.

Legal firm Leigh Day and Co has issued an application for Judicial Review on behalf of claimant Bob Austin, a former councillor backed by anti-privatisation campaigners.

The case centres on a consultation document recently issued by the trust about its GP services, which included information about plans for a GP-led health centre.

The consultation was not due to finish until October but the PCT announced on 31 July that Care UK had been selected to run the clinic.

Opponents of the new centre, which will be located close to Euston station, believe it could lead to the closure of local GP practices and are demanding a full consultation.

Candy Udwin, chair of the Camden Keep Our NHS Public campaign group, said: ‘The consultation has been a sham. The PCT has chosen the site, awarded the contract and started advertising for staff before the consultation has even closed.’

Dr Mark Atkinson, NHS Camden chief executive, said the trust would ‘rigorously defend’ itself against the accusations.

‘No legal case has yet been lodged at the High Court. If that happens, NHS Camden will rigorously defend Camden patients’ rights to expansion of local GP services.’

The PCT also found itself at the centre of controversy over an APMS tender in 2008, when it awarded three local GP practices to UnitedHealth, despite a rival GP bid being rated higher for planned service provision.
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PCT threatened with legal action over Darzi centre

Pulse | By Gareth Iacobucci | 5 August 2009

The Keep Our NHS Public campaign group are threatening NHS Camden with legal action over an alleged lack of consultation on a new GP-led health centre in north London.

The anti-privatisation campaigners, supported by local GPs and patients, are demanding that the PCT suspends its plans for a new Darzi centre near Euston station, pending a full local consultation.

Legal firm Leigh Day and Co have served the trust with a letter before action on behalf of a local pensioner, Willibald Davies, which claims the PCT have not consulted adequately on the procurement, and should immediately cease the process until a full local consultation has taken place.

Opponents to the new centre, which will be run by private firm Care UK, believe it could lead to the closure of local GP practices in the area.

The controversy centres on a consultation document recently issued by the trust about the future of Camden’s GP services, which included information about the GP-led health centre.

Although the consultation is not due to finish until October, the PCT announced on 31 July that Care UK had beaten local GPs to run the clinic.

Local campaigners have also threatened to organise a public boycott of any new clinic if their demands for a full consultation period are not met.

The latest battle is the second time in as many years the PCT has found itself at the centre of controversy over an APMS tender. In 2008, the trust was heavily criticised for awarding three local GP practices to US-giant United Health, despite local GPs being rated as offering substantially better services.

Camden was also one of two north London trusts which held secret talks with private providers including Virgin Healthcare about running the country’s first fully-fledged polyclinic before the public had been consulted.

Rob Larkman, NHS Camden Chief Executive, said: ‘Since 2007 NHS Camden has made clear our desire to increase access to GP services for the people of South Camden, one of the most deprived areas of the borough. By the end of 2009 a brand new health centre with a brand new GP practice will open offering local people world class health care, at times convenient for local residents.’

‘It is incorrect to suggest that we are presently subject to a Judicial Review. No case against NHS Camden has been lodged with the courts’.

Fears over privatisation plan for GP centre

Ham & High | Tan Parsons | 6 August 2009

CAMPAIGNERS are threatening legal action over NHS Camden’s decision to hand control of a health centre to a private company.

Last Friday (July 31) the group confirmed that the contract to run a new GP-led health centre in Hampstead Road would be awarded to Care UK, a company that in April this year was criticised in a BBC Panorama investigation into the quality of elderly homecare.

Campaigners were also furious that NHS Camden’s decision was announced more than two months ahead of the conclusion of their Primary and Urgent Care Strategy consultation on October 9.

Leigh Day and Co solicitors have now served NHS Camden with a letter before action on behalf of Camden pensioner, Willibald Davies, who has diabetes. The firm has insisted that NHS Camden should immediately halt the procurement process and the signing of any contract until full local consultation has taken place.

Chairwoman of Camden Keep Our NHS Public, Candy Udwin, said: “We are appalled by the idea that more private companies could get a toehold in Camden family doctors services.

“The fact there’s been no consultation makes it even more appalling. 

“People want to see a family doctor who knows them and their problems and who sees them every time they go to the doctors.”

The proposed development is one of the so called ‘GP-led health centres’ that was being promoted by Lord Darzi before he resigned last month as health minister.

NHS Camden’s decision to select Care UK as the preferred bidder follows the controversial appointment of private American firm United Health to run three local GP practices in the south of Camden.

However, patients spokesman Neil Woodnick, who is chairman of the Camden Local Involvement Network, said that a consultation would only delay the inevitable.

He said: “Even if there is a judicial review and NHS Camden was forced to hold a consultation, you have to remember a consultation isn’t a democratic process. 

“They could still award the contract to whoever they choose.

“At the moment figures show there is overall patient satisfaction at the surgeries run by United Health, so I’m not that worried about the prospect of another private care provider. 

“But obviously we will monitor the situation closely and see how it works out. We are more concerned about how confusing it is for people in Camden now. 

“How do they know whether to go to accident and emergency, an urgent care unit or the GP-led health centre?”

A spokeswoman for NHS Camden said that no case against the organisation had been lodged with the courts at the time the Ham&High went to press.

She said: “Since 2007 we have made clear our desire to increase access to GP services for the people of South Camden, one of the most deprived areas of the borough.

“By the end of 2009 a brand new health centre with a brand new GP practice will open, offering world class health care at times convenient for local residents.

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Large out-of-hours provider merges with GP co-op

Posted on October 21, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , , |

Healthcare Republic | By Neil Durham | 21 October 2009

An out-of-hours provider looking after more than a tenth of England’s population has merged with a GP co-operative.

Harmoni is commissioned by over 20 NHS PCTs to provide services for six million people including out-of-hours, GP-led health centres and urgent care centres.

It merges with Thamesdoc, a GP co-operative providing out-of-hours cover and other urgent care services to patients in Surrey and parts of West Sussex and Hampshire.

Andrew Gardner, Harmoni’s chief executive, said: ‘This merger reinforces Harmoni’s position as the market leader in the provision of urgent care services in England.’

Stephen Price, chief executive of Thamesdoc, said: ‘The recent Care Quality Commission interim report highlights the importance of delivering a high quality service where patient care and patient experience are the top priority.

‘We believe that this adds further weight to the move for out-of-hours providers to consolidate in order to have the scale to deliver the best patient care.’ 

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GPs to be paid £200k incentives to offer partnerships

Posted on October 21, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

Pulse | By Nigel Praities | 21 October 2009

Exclusive: Practices are to be offered hundreds of thousands of pounds each to take on partners under a pioneering incentive scheme, Pulse can reveal.

NHS South-West Essex has become the first PCT in the country to offer incentives to practices to create partnerships, in a scheme that has been hailed by the GPC as a potential model for the rest of the UK.

Pulse revealed last month that negotiators were discussing how LES payments could be offered by PCTs to encourage creation of partnerships, in an attempt to avert a split in the profession.

The new plan to plough millions of pounds into the promotion of partnerships is directly in line with the central demand of Pulse’s One Voice campaign, which has called for incentives to make partnerships more financially attractive to practices.

The scheme has been designed to attract ‘new blood’ and address a sudden recruitment crisis in general practice, after employment consultants warned salaried GPs had become so disillusioned they were refusing to apply for non-principal positions.

Practices will be offered as much as £225,000 to offer a GP a formal partnership agreement – which will have to meet certain minimum standards – along with hitting targets to improve access and performance.

GMS practices will be offered £80,000 in year one, £80,000 in year two and £60,000 over years three and four, and must transfer to a PMS or APMS contract.

PMS practices will also be offered incentives, although funding will be ‘offset by any growth monies’ they receive.

Practices will also be offered up to £5,000 for the costs of drawing up a partnership agreement and advertising the post.

The scheme in South-West Essex aims to recruit 35 additional full-time-equivalent partners to the area, targeting single-handed practices and those where GPs are considering retirement.

A spokesperson from the PCT said it was in discussions with four practices to avert an impending GP shortage and tempt ‘young, innovative GPs’ into the area: ‘The Succession Planning Scheme will see us fund practices to employ an additional partner, pump-priming this over a number of years.

‘It will enable smaller practices to develop into larger surgeries offering more GPs,’ the spokesperson added.

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMCs and a GPC member, said the scheme was ‘novel’ and could be used as a model elsewhere in the UK.

‘I am totally behind this. I give credit to the PCT, but I’ve been nagging it for a very long time. It has had the balls to do it.’

‘If we don’t promote partnerships, we’re not going to keep general practice as we want it, or do what the DH wants, which is to expand primary care.’

Dr Vicky Weeks, chair of the GPC’s sessional GPs subcommittee, said the scheme was ‘a very good idea’ and one of a number of options for encouraging partnerships. ‘We are looking at the whole issue of workforce planning and are working on various models,’ she said.

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New GP-led health centre opens in Cowgate

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

NHS North OF Tyneside | News Release | 20 October 2009

A new local GP-led health centre, featuring some state-of-the-art medical equipment, has successfully opened in the heart of a Newcastle community.

Since opening, Ponteland Road Health Centre, near the Aldi store in Cowgate, has received strong interest from local residents and those from nearby Blakelaw.

More than 75 people have registered as patients at the new centre – an initial take-up that was greater than expected.

The walk-in service has also proved a welcome new facility with an average of around 40 people a day now using the centre.

Ponteland Road Health Centre – open 8am to 8pm every day of the week – opened on October 5.

Dr Tony Thick, lead director of clinical services, said: “We are delighted with the public response, which clearly demonstrates the very real need for such a centre.

“The new centre provides better access to a range of GP and health services and will help people to receive treatment in centres closer to their home rather than in hospital. The centre and the 18 jobs created demonstrate our ongoing commitment to provide better healthcare access for people in the local community.”

The new centre combines a walk-in service open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days per year, a new GP practice that patients can register to join as well as hosting a range of services including x-ray, ultrasound and echocardiography (heart tests).

The jobs were created in order to manage the new health centre which along with a similar facility built and opened in Battle Hill, North Tyneside, represent a £6 million investment by the local NHS.  Both centres are situated in convenient locations for giving people who live or work in the local areas easy access to meet their healthcare needs.

The site for the centre was developed by a consortium – called Freeman Clinics – comprising the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and GP practices.

Battle Hill’s new centre manager is Tony Hockey. Tony was previously practice manager at a local GP practice. He said: “These new facilities are good news for people living in Newcastle and North Tyneside. They provide better access to a range of GP and health services in the community. Due to the unique partnership with The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we can ensure that patients receive better and more co-ordinated care.”

The centre has led to the creation of the following roles: a director of clinical services, practice manager, deputy practice manager, GPs, nurse practitioners, reception supervisor, and receptionist administrators.


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APMS firm got 10% pay boost

Posted on October 20, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Steve Nowottny | 20 October 2009

Exclusive: A private company received 10% extra over the value of its core APMS contract through a single local enhanced service-style payment in the first year of running a GP practice, Pulse can reveal.

Creswell Primary Care Centre in Derbyshire, which was taken over by the company ChilversMcCrea Healthcare in 2007, received a payment of £63,906 for ‘Note Summarisation’ in 2007/8, details released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

ChilversMcCrea said the funding was prompted by the ‘exceptional amount of work’ required to summarise notes after taking over the village practice.

But local GPs have raised concerns that the payment, which was not offered to any neighbouring practices, was far above the going rate and indicative of preferential treatment for the private sector.

The payment for note summarisation represents 10% of the total value of Chilvers McCrea’s contract, which a separate FOI response has disclosed was £631,833 in 2007/8. The payment equates to roughly £10 per patient.

However, in the following year, 2008/9, the practice scored poorly on four QOF indicators relating to notes summarisation, being awarded 0% for an indicator on whether it had up-to-date clinical summaries in at least 60% of patient records.

Dr Trefor Roscoe, a GP in Sheffield who worked as a registrar in the Derbyshire practice 20 years ago, said: ‘We pay our summarisers about £6 an hour, and they do four or five sets of notes an hour. That’s the going rate. I suspect ChilversMcCrea has said, “there’s no way we can take this practice on – the notes are a mess and we need some money to sort it out”. The trust has added 10%, but this is money the public purse should not have had to spend.’

A PCT spokesperson said the payment was ‘not a formal LES’ but had been listed as such in its FOI response ‘to be fully transparent’. ‘As it wasn’t a formal LES, it wasn’t offered to other practices,’ the spokesperson said.

The trust declined to comment on whether the funding was over the odds, but said it ‘was to reflect the need to improve the notes [Chilvers McCrea] inherited’.

Asked about its subsequent QOF score, the spokesperson said: ‘This process has only just been completed and payments to the practice reflect this.’

Dr Sarah Chilvers, managing director of ChilversMcCrea, said: ‘When we took over the practice, an exceptional amount of work was required to bring the notes up to standard. This work has helped us to significantly improve access to healthcare for patients.’

Dr John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire LMC, said: ‘On the face of it, it looks very discriminatory. But although they’ve listed it as a LES, it’s an APMS contract so LESs don’t really count. Because the definitions are so different, it’s impossible to tell if the playing field is level.’

ChilversMcCrea, which manages over 30 practices across the UK, has endured a difficult few months. Earlier this month NHS North East Essex threatened to remove its APMS contract for a local practice after accusing the firm of ‘underestimating’ the challenge of running GP services.

In April, the company was forced to terminate its contract for a practice in south-east Essex, blaming the economic climate.

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Walk-in doctors’ surgery launched in Nuneaton

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

Coventry Telegraph | 20 October 2009

AN INNOVATIVE walk-in doctor’s surgery has been launched at a health centre in Nuneaton.

It will allow patients to have an appointment even if they are registered with another surgery and is part of a government programme to increase access to family GP services.

George Eliot Hospital has become the first Acute NHS Trust in the country to run a GP-led facility, which is based at Camp Hill Health Centre, and is supported by NHS Warwickshire.

Health Minister and North Warwickshire MP Mike O’Brien, who performed the opening, said: “This will make a huge difference in improving access to health care for local people.

“Centres like this one are opening up and down the country, complementing services provided by existing practices.

“The centres are proving popular with patients who have told us that they want to be able to see a GP at times convenient to them.

“This centre will offer patients the greater choice and flexibility they want, being able to see a doctor or nurse between 8am and 8pm seven days a week, while still remaining registered with their family GP if they so wish.”

As well as increasing access to GP services, the Ramsden Avenue centre will also have a strong focus on promoting better health and ensuring everyone has access to the services and care they need, particularly for hard-to-reach groups.

Some of the health checks and treatments on offer will include physiotherapy, minor surgery and family planning.

Paul Jennings, chief executive of NHS Warwickshire, said: “We know that those living in the north of the county are statistically more likely to suffer ill-health and we are focused on tackling these health inequalities.

“Camp Hill Health Centre is the result of effective partnership working between NHS Warwickshire, the local community and George Eliot Hospital. Its opening is sure to have a positive effect on health services in the area.”

Sharon Beamish, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital, said: “As a well known local NHS health care provider we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide primary care to the community.

“We are looking forward to working with local people to develop services that they want and need in the area and we are fully committed to providing the best care possible to all who choose to use the services in Camp Hill.”

Opening of new GP-led health centre with Warwick Medical School

Warwick Medical School | News Release | accessed 1 October 2009

A new GP-led health centre in Warwickshire developed in conjunction with Warwick Medical School has officially opened its doors for the first time. 

The Camp Hill Centre, based in Nuneaton, has been opened by the Minister of State for Health Services Mike O’Brien MP.  

The Camp Hill area was chosen to benefit from a new health centre as part of the Department of Health’s alternative providers medical services (APMS) contracts. These contracts enable PCTs to deliver health services tailored to local needs. 

Warwick Medical School has contributed towards the development of the health centre and created a learning environment for both its undergraduate and postgraduate students. The health centre will become a teaching hub, providing local leadership to teaching practices.    

Hospital trust opens GP centre

Health Services Journal | 20 April, 2009 | Updated: 23 April, 2009 0:00 am | By Sally Gainsbury

A hospital trust in Warwickshire has become the first to take over the running of a GP-led health centre.

George Eliot Hospital trust plans to open the new 8am to 8pm health centre this October.

The development will be watched carefully as there have been concerns that hospitals should not be allowed to “vertically integrate” with GP services lest they be tempted to use them to create additional demand for acute care.

DH approval

The Department of Health’s guidance on the issue states that any such proposals must be agreed with the department.

But George Eliot trust chief executive Sharon Beamish said the trust “fully supports the drive to provide care closer to home”.

She added: “As an organisation that provides local hospital services we are well placed to extend these services within the community to offer a complete range of healthcare and have a more direct impact on improving the health and wellbeing of [the area].”

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Andy Burnham: Polyclinics won’t be cut

Posted on October 20, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

London Evening Standard | By Anna Davis, Health Reporter | 20 October 2009

Every Londoner will have a polyclinic in their borough before the Olympics, the Health Secretary claimed today.

Andy Burham said said he was determined that the credit crunch will not stop plans to build the “super-health centres” by 2012.

Mr Burnham has also admitted that the NHS needs to make £20 billion savings.

He said that cuts would not hit clinical services, but admitted that health bosses in London would have to “take a close look at services going forward”.

He added: “The roll-out of polyclinics is on track. They will open up a new range of possibilities for services to be provided closer to home.

“In the next decade more services will come out of hospital settings.”

Health bosses in Wandsworth have admitted they scrapped plans for a polyclinic because of the recession.

It raised fears that plans for more polyclinics would be shelved. But Mr Burnham said: “I am assured that London Primary Care Trusts are still working towards 100 per cent population coverage by 2012.”

Mr Burnham added that overhauling how elderly people are cared for is vitally important for Londoners.

He wants to create a National Care Service to make sure there is enough money to look after people as they grow older.

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GP–led, seven–days–a–week service, opens at Charing Cross Hospital

Posted on October 19, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Wellbeing Newsline | 19 October 2009

Edited by Nick Adams: Local residents in West London should benefit from easier access to GPs and emergency medical care since a new 24–hour health centre opened at Charing Cross Hospital recently.

The Fulham Centre for Health works alongside the emergency department to provide urgent care for people with minor injuries and illnesses. In addition, it functions like a conventional GP surgery and offers registration to local residents with appointments available between 8am and 8pm, seven–days–a–week. 

Because the Centre is located on a hospital site it can provide quicker access to diagnostic services, such as X–rays. It joins the Hammersmith Centre for Health, opened in April this year, to provide GP and out–of–hour’s services. 

Visit Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust online at:

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Herefordshire’s work scheme provider, Bizmatch, folds

Posted on October 18, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers, Social enterprise |

Hereford Times | 18 October 2009

ONE of Herefordshire’s best known social enterprises is facing liquidation.

Bizmatch, which provides employment opportunities for vulnerable adults, ceased trading this week.

Bizmatch is the trading arm of Hereford-based Workmatch, which gives work preparation and training at its Coningsby Street headquarters.

Herefordshire Council has been working with Workmatch this week to support those affected by the breakdown of Bizmatch. Both the council and NHS Herefordshire purchased services from the charitable company.

Around 70 clients were receiving the service, with 30 of them eligible for support from the council’s adult social care team.

“We are reassuring everyone who is eligible for support that we will be finding alternative means of continuing a service for them,” said Sara Keetley, head of adult social care for Herefordshire Council and Primary Care Trust.

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A health centre in Tesco’s car park?

Posted on October 18, 2009. Filed under: Providers | Tags: |

By Richard Baum | 18 October 2009

For reasons beyond my comprehension, the world doesn’t stand still when I’m on holiday. In fact, lots of things have gone on in Prestwich whilst I’ve been away.

One of them is that a Planning application has been lodged by Care UK for the siting of a mobile Health Clinic at Tesco for a period of seven years. Yes, that’s right. Someone wants to stick a clinic in Tesco’s car park, so that you can shop for an x-ray as you shop for your spuds.

Details are sketchy at present but presumably it will be one of those mobile testing clinics – where you can get your blood pressure checked out or perhaps have more serious matters checked/tested for problems. I’ve got no problem with these at all, but we have an NHS walk-in centre up the road, and there’s talk of a LIFT centre, which would be an even better local NHS facility. Why are the NHS now looking to pay the private sector to set up shop in a supermarket car park until 2016? We’ve got a credit crunch on, haven’t we?

And I wonder how much Tesco are getting out of this… Perhaps enough for them to re-instate the recycling facility they’ve just had removed from the very same car park?

All a bit worrying…


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Princess Alexandra opens new health centre in Teddington

Posted on October 17, 2009. Filed under: Integrated care, News stories |

Guardian Richmond | By Chris Wickham | 17 October 2009

A new £4m clinic has been given the royal seal of approval.

Princess Alexandra was at the new Teddington Health and Social Care Centre on Wednesday to open the building after a nine-month construction.

The Queen’s Road centre, which replaces Teddington Clinic, will house community nurses, occupational therapists and care managers, family planning services, children’s psychology and speech therapy, and specialist dentistry services for people with learning disabilities.

The project was funded by the Government, which awarded NHS Richmond the cash to upgrade the clinic. Building work started in December 2008.

Teams from NHS Richmond, Richmond Council and South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust will be based at the clinic, which is also the new home of the adult community mental health team.

Sian Bates, chairman of NHS Richmond, said: “The centre is an important step in achieving NHS Richmond’s vision for community health services to deliver integrated services, closer to people’s homes.

“The centre is a fantastic addition to local services, providing modern facilities for patients and staff.

“It will enable us to fully support those patients who have long-term conditions in a welcoming environment.”

Councillor Denise Carr, Richmond Council cabinet member for adult services, health and housing, said: “I’m delighted the centre is now open.

“Residents and staff will benefit hugely from the improved facilities.

“It will also be a great chance for our health and social care teams to work together to provide a seamless service for people.”

The princess went on a tour of the new centre during her visit and met some of the staff who will work there.

She also spoke to patients and unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit.

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Apollo Medical Partners

Posted on October 16, 2009. Filed under: Providers | Tags: |

About Apollo

Specialists in developing, managing and investing in new premises and service businesses with GP Practices, PCTs and NHS Trusts.

Since 1994 our Management Team has specialised in the creation of new or improved healthcare facilities for GP practices and NHS bodies throughout the UK.

Our collective experience of over 100 projects, past and present, has equipped us to deal with most permutations presented to us relating to primary care buildings from single practice solutions to schemes with 7 separate stakeholders. We have an active development programme of current and planned projects of approximately £75 million.

Our Centres for Health and Healthcare Partnerships businesses have been set up in response to the major changes in Primary Care.

Group structure

Click here to link to the Apollo Team Gallery and details of the Apollo Group personnel by business stream.


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Assura Peninsula Health LLP

Posted on October 16, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura Peninsula Health LLP | accessed 16 October 2009

Twenty-five Wirral practices joined together in a limited liability partnership to form Peninsula Health in 2007. 

The objective of their partnership is to become a provider of specialist services in a community setting. 

These practices provide care to 122,000 Wirral residents and they will continue to operate as individual general practices looking after their patients as they always have.

Peninsula Health delivers clinical services to all Wirral residents from existing primary care sites – bringing specialist opinion with diagnostic & treatment services closer to the patient in a community setting.  Our services will be consistent with Government policy to enable patient-centered services (See Our Health, Our Care, Our Say).

About Us

Who is Peninsula Health?

Peninsula Health is a limited liability partnership between 25 Wirral practices and Assura Medical. proivde services to all patients free at point of service.

Peninsula Health is a 50:50 joint venture partnership and is led by our Clinical Management Board (CMB) comprising local GPs, a Business Director and one representative from Assura Medical.

Local doctors provide the clinical leadership in identifying and designing high quality and innovative services for the benefit of local residents. Assura Medical bring their management and operational expertise to support local doctors in delivering services.

GPs are not paid to refer patients into services run by Peninsula Health. In line with Department of Health policy, patients are given a choice of providers at the point of referral and should they choose to be referred into a Peninsula Health service, the referrer will inform the declare that they have a commercial interest in the provider organisation.

ALL practice members of Peninsula Health have made a commitment to re-invest any income derived from this partnership into improving patient care in their practices.

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Malling Health centres

Posted on October 16, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: , |

Malling Health | News Release | accessed 16 October 2009

  1. NHS Westminster award flagship centre to Malling Health
  2. NHS Kingston appoint Malling Health as preferred provider for their ‘Chessington World of Primary Care’
  3. NHS Cambridgeshire have chosen Malling Health for their GP led Health Centre in St Neots
  4. Double win for Malling Health in Telford
  5. NHS shropshire awards Malling Health with Shrewsbury GP led Health Centre contract
  6. Malling Health scoop all four APMS contracts in Sandwell including one GP led Health Centre
  7. NHS Coventry awards Malling Health with 2 new surgery contracts: Malling Health will set up 2 new surgeries in Coventry, one in Foleshill and the other in Stoke Aldermoor. Both services are expected to commence in April 2009.
  8. Malling Health wins bid to run new surgery in Worle, Weston-super-Mare. This exciting service will be set up on a new site and we expect it to open in early summer 2009. 

It is our aim to work with commissioners as well as patients to find solutions that best fit the needs of the local population, always aiming to involve all other agencies.

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Polyclinic plans unveiled

Posted on October 15, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

Yellow Advertiser | By Suzi Muston | NHS Havering | 15 October 2009


NEW SERVICES: Chief executive of NHS Havering, Chas Hollwey at the site selected for Harold Wood’s new polyclinic. Picture by Roy Tillett

NEW SERVICES: Chief executive of NHS Havering, Chas Hollwey at the site selected for Harold Wood’s new polyclinic. Picture by Roy Tillett

PLANS for a £4million polyclinic in Harold Wood have been officially unveiled to the public. 

Chief executive of NHS Havering, Chas Hollwey, outlined his plans for improving health services at the Trust’s annual general meeting last week. 

Trust bosses said the clinic will be based in Gubbins Lane, because of a general shortage of doctors in the Harold Wood area. 

Mr Hollwey told the meeting that funding was now available. 

He explained: “We are delighted that we have funding for this new facility, which will provide more GPs and improved health services for residents.” 

As well as new GP practice, there will be a full range of primary care facilities on offer, including a minor injuries unit. 

It is hoped that this will provide a more convenient service for patients and reduce pressure on accident and emergency services. 

Unusually, the polyclinic will be open every day of the year and patients will be able to walk in and see a doctor or nurse between 8am and 8pm, regardless of where they are registered. 

An extra three doctors will join the existing number of GPs currently available in Havering. 

Local residents have helped to influence plans for the new practice and clinic by taking part in an extensive consultation run by NHS Havering. 

The polyclinic will provide primary care for all patients and also services to meet the needs of older people and people with disabilities. 

Other services could include stroke rehabilitation, guidance on managing long-term conditions such as diabetes, and support and advice on health issues such as obesity and smoking. 

A cafe and internet access will also feature in the new centre, along with space that can be used by voluntary and community groups.


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World class commissioning – an introduction

Posted on October 15, 2009. Filed under: Reports/papers | Tags: |

Department of Health | Guidance | 15 October 2009

World class commissioning is about delivering better health and wellbeing for the population, improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities. In partnership with local government, practice based commissioners and others, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs),supported by Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), will lead the NHS in turning the world class commissioning vision into a reality, adding life to years and years to life.

This guide provides a brief introduction to world class commissioning.

Download World class commissioning an introduction (PDF, 303K)

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