Archive for November, 2009

NHS Blackpool acquires Toshiba Aplio XG for new GP Led Health Centre

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers |

Toshiba Medical Systems UK | News & Press |  NHS Blackpool | 30 November 2009

The 100th fully operational new GP led health centre in England was officially opened in Blackpool on the 19th November by Health Secretary Andy Burnham.

In the picture: Left to right – Stewart Whitley, Radiology Advisor, UK Radiology Advisory Services Ltd, Nicky West, Superintendent Sonographer, Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Sue Corless, Sonographer and Nicky Sims, Clinical Applications Specialist Toshiba Medical Systems

NHS Blackpool’s £20m state-of-the art innovative Whitegate Health Centre houses the latest of the 152 GP led health centres opening across England that will see patients from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, as part of a government programme to increase access to family doctor services and includes a modern Imaging suite comprising a digital X-ray room, MRI and ultrasound.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:

“I want the best to be available to everyone, not according to where they live. Our GP services were recently independently rated as being amongst the best in the world by GPs themselves – great news for patients. But I want to go even further and give patients more choice and greater access.

“Nearly one year on from the first GP led health centre opening, 100 centres across the country are making a huge difference in improving access to healthcare for local people.

“These health centres are an addition to existing GP services and are proving popular with patients who have told us that they want to be able to see a GP at times convenient to them and to access a wide range of services previously only available at hospitals.

“In addition, over 75 percent of GP practices are already offering more flexible opening hours for patients and earlier this year I also announced that we will abolish GP practice boundaries within a year, giving patients even greater choice.”

The GP health centres are part of £250 million extra investment in primary care announced last year which also includes setting up 112 new GP practices in areas of the country with the greatest health challenges and the fewest GPs. In each area, the local NHS has chosen the provider best able to deliver responsive services to meet the needs of the local community. Over half of the contracts have been awarded to existing GP partnerships or to GP partnerships in consortium with other providers.

The Whitegate Health Centre is a landmark primary care centre offering a wide range of health services all under one roof, providing patients with greater choice with facilities normally found at a hospital. As well as delivering greatly improved healthcare services within the local community, Whitegate Health Centre has a specific focus on meeting the needs of Blackpool’s homeless population.

The ultrasound room is equipped with a Toshiba Aplio XG and staffed by sonographers from the local Acute Trust – Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation.

Patients scanned at the centre are referred from local Blackpool GP surgeries and are seen within relatively short times from the time of their referral and reported immediately.

The Aplio XG is Toshiba’s premium ultrasound system with a host of features that make it an ideal solution for satisfying robust imaging requirements, as well as boosting efficiency. Its comprehensive array of clinically validated technologies, coupled with its full range of high-performance imaging functions allows the user to visualise minute tissue details and vascular structures with precision for a fast and more accurate diagnosis.

Images acquired at the Whitegate Health Centre are stored on a server locally within the centre and immediately copied to long-term storage and web servers within the Acute Trust. This makes them available for viewing at any of the six sites supported by the Acute Trust, where they can be accessed via 26 diagnostic workstations or any of the 4,500 networked PCs located within the Trust and NHS Blackpool.

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Build a virtual polyclinic

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Journals, Polyclinics |

Health Service Journal | BY MARK CAULFIELD | 30 November 2009

Streamlined care cannot be delivered unless clinicians are able to share information easily. Mark Caulfield describes how Tower Hamlets solved the problem with integrated IT.

As the repository for vital patient information, IT systems are at the heart of rethinking services in the post-Darzi era.

It is impossible to redesign more streamlined care pathways – with the patient, not the provider, at the centre – without also considering how different healthcare teams can share information to deliver a joined‑up approach.

This is particularly important for patients with long term conditions, who rely on the support of many different healthcare practitioners, who in turn work in a wide range of settings.

Without shared information – for example, details of recent interventions or current medication – consultations become more time consuming and less effective, not to mention frustrating for the patient.

At NHS Tower Hamlets, we have adopted an ambitious IT programme to support the restructuring of our services into eight new networks. In effect virtual polyclinics, the networks combine clusters of GP practices aligned to local community health services.

The aim is to deliver better and more integrated care, closer to home, in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.

To support this new way of working, we needed an integrated IT system that was flexible enough to be used by a wide range of clinicians and that would support comprehensive, PCT-wide data reporting.

We decided to continue our history of collaborative work with healthcare systems supplier EMIS to develop its EMIS Web system into a structure that would work across the whole primary care trust.

Single record

The system allows us to create bespoke consultation templates for different healthcare teams – each feeding data into a single patient record, which can be viewed by different practitioners.

We worked closely with different practitioners to create the right template for their particular service and to agree which other professionals could access the data recorded.

For example, we worked with the community matrons to create templates for patients with long term conditions, based on the templates used in general practice. More recently, we worked with the child protection nurse specialist to create a template to record data for vulnerable children.

Both of these templates can be viewed by GPs and community teams – providing a vital overview of care – and the system automatically captures data from different practitioners’ consultations.

Two years into the project and the system is now widely used by 300 community practitioners, from health visitors to district nurses, and will be implemented across all community teams by the end of 2009.

The benefits of this include:

  • Patients’ electronic records are now more comprehensive, with data entered by different practitioners, giving a rounded view of their care.
  • Data capture to support performance reporting is done in seconds, not weeks, and we can now produce electronic 18-week referral reports.
  • Using the system’s powerful search and reports module, we can track all childhood immunisations across the whole PCT and manage call and recall to improve vaccination rates.
  • Services are being delivered more efficiently. For example, by using a streamlined appointment booking service which has removed duplicate data entry, our physiotherapy admin team is saving seven hours a week.
  • We are developing sophisticated care pathways that will allow us to generate tariff information as well as relating this activity to episodes of care defined by specific problems or conditions.
  • Clinicians have adopted the new system with great enthusiasm – far from having to persuade them to change, we are fighting off requests to extend the roll-out of the system.

Integrated patient care does not stop with the PCT. We plan to implement data sharing with a local hospital trust and with the council’s social care services.

How to deliver joined-up IT

  • Involve clinicians from the outset: listen to their needs and take time to understand how services work before you start to think about IT.
  • Focus on the end result: our focus was not on management information but on using IT to help support new care pathways.
  • Don’t assume that different clinicians need different systems: we identified core similarities in how different practitioners approached a consultation, enabling us to develop a central module that could be adapted to meet service-specific needs.
  • Develop rigorous data sharing agreements: GPs in particular need reassurance about who will access the patient record, how and why
  • Retain flexibility: interoperability with other IT systems is essential if you are to link information with other providers, for example in secondary care.
  • Work closely with your IT supplier: having a direct relationship with those designing the system is a tremendous benefit – saving time and ensuring clear communication of users’ needs.
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New health centre to open on Christmas Day

Posted on November 29, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

Islington Gazette | 29 November 2009

A NEW health centre for Islington will open 365 days a year.

People will not need to register or book an appointment to see a doctor at the new GP-led health centre, which will see patients until 8pm seven days a week.

The centre, which is expected to open in March 2010, will be located alongside the current Ritchie Street Health Centre in Ritchie Street, Islington.

There had been fears that NHS Islington bosses would award the centre’s contract to a private company.

But they have awarded it to Angel Medical Services (AMS) Ltd, a new company that has been set up by a group of doctors at the Ritchie Street Health Centre specifically to run the centre.

This is unlike neighbouring Camden, where health chiefs decided to award its GP-led health centre’s contract to private company Care UK.

Dr Sunil Limaye, managing director of AMS Ltd, said: “We look forward to improving access to health care for members of our community and congratulate NHS Islington in its decision, allowing us to run this contract from within the NHS.”

The GP-led health centre in Ritchie Road, which will even be open on Christmas Day, will see both registered locals and walk-in patients.

The idea is to take pressure off nearby accident and emergency departments and to also cater for commuters who find it difficult to see a doctor within working hours. Helen Pettersen, deputy chief executive of NHS Islington, said: “At NHS Islington we have heard the voice of residents regarding accessibility of services.

“The GP-led health centre in Islington will provide a wide range of health services in a place where they are needed and, most importantly, at times when they are needed.”

The Department of Health is providing funding to help each primary care trust open a new GP-led health centre in its area.

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Independent provider arms ‘nonsense’, David Nicholson says

Posted on November 27, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, News stories |

Healthcare Republic | By Dave West | 27 November 2009

NHS chief executive David Nicholson has described the idea of many primary care trust provider arms becoming independent as “nonsense”.

It confirms that the policy of asking community providers to become separate foundation trusts or social enterprises has been abandoned.

Instead, Mr Nicholson appeared to give his strong support to “vertical integration” of community providers with acute trusts.

Speaking to the NHS medical directors summit yesterday, Mr Nicholson said: “The idea that at a time when we are facing real financial challenge, that we’ll start creating a whole new set of NHS organisations is nonsensical.”

In particular, he said the idea of many PCT providers becoming foundation trusts was “nonsense”.

“We have got to move from that quickly and think of alternatives ways of doing it.”

He said cost-saving improvements could often be made at the “interface” between providers and this was a case for integration, with acute or other providers.

Mr Nicholson said: “I would say to those in acute andcommunity services you should be talking long and hard to each other.”

He said “vertical integration” was “a real opportunity to improve services right across whole pathways”.

The co-operation and competition panel is currently investigating three proposed mergers of community services with acutes, from NHS West Sussex, NHS Lewisham and NHS Derby.

It has not yet ruled on any vertical mergers but has approved the transfer of NHS Barking and Dagenham’s community health services to North East London Foundation Trust, a mental health services provider.

As recently as April, PCT providers were pressing for all to be allowed to become foundations, rather than only the six existing pilot sites.

However, in August Mr Nicholson scrapped an October deadline for PCTs to outline plans for their provider.

Yesterday he accepted the DH had not “covered ourselves in glory” with its community services policy.

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New model could help salaried GPs become ‘intermediate partners’

Posted on November 27, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

Healthcare Republic | By Tom Ireland | 27 November 2009

Londonwide LMCs is developing a model of ‘intermediate partnership’ to help salaried or sessional GPs advance their careers in the capital.

Dr Michelle Drage, chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said the current model of partnership ‘does not seem to be providing them [sessionals] with the autonomy they are looking for.’

The emergence of federated and networked practices in London mean there will be more opportunities for different types of career, she said.

One model involves salaried GPs becoming stakeholders and running one of a group of practices without investing in property and infrastructure.

‘We are looking at how we can create opportunities with the benefits of being in a partnership without the millstone round their necks of having to own all the infrastructure,’ said Dr Drage.

Londonwide LMCs are also developing a range of services to help small practices federate to avoid pressure from PCTs in London.

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Private company’s losses ‘could lead to Darzi centre sell-off’

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

Pulse | By Ian Quinn | 27 November 2009

Analysts have predicted that one of the biggest private companies in primary care may sell off or close its loss-making GP operations entirely, including its network of Darzi centres, after it announced it was separating the division from the rest of its business.

Despite having won or reached preferred bidder stage for 68 tenders, including a string of GP led health centres across the country, Assura revealed losses before interest and taxes in its medical division of £4.5m.

City experts say Assura shareholders would rather the GP operations were sold off or shut as they are not expected to earn enough money to make a profit for a considerable period.

Announcing its half yearly results, Assura warned that the current high volume of procurement for contracts, such as the Darzi rollout, was likely to slow after the general election and warned that the medical business would ‘be loss making for some time and will consume further cash.’

It added: ‘The board is in the process of evaluating a number of options to separate the GPCo business from the rest of the group.’

City analyst Investec said the move ‘could include sale, spin-off or closure’ of the GP ventures.

It added that it would cost Assura around £10m to spin off or close the ventures but that the benefits of either move would outweigh the long-term damage to the company’s share value of holding on to the loss making division.

Huge doubts have been raised of late into the ability of private sector companies to make what they regard as enough profits from primary care.

Assura’s results reveal it is only half way towards the £60m a year revenues it needs to break even from its GP operations which include GP services, walk-in centres and urgent care centres.

Despite opening a string of centres in Bath, Coventry, Stockton, Hartlepool, Reading, Hull, Hertford and Cheshunt, since April, just three of Assura’s GP companies reported a profit in the first six months of the year.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Richard Burrell, company CEO, said: ‘Both our pharmacy and GPCo businesses increased revenues strongly in the period and our pharmacy business is now cash generative. Trading since the year end has been in line with our expectations and we look to the future with confidence.’

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GPs win first victory in competition case against PCT

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Pulse | By Nigel Praities | 26 November 2009

Entrepreneurial GPs have been granted a full inquiry after NHS managers blocked their plans to open a new surgery because it would be in competition with a nearby private provider.

The NHS competition watchdog said it will proceed with its inquiry after it found ‘potential concerns’ about the way NHS Kingston acted towards a practice in their area.

GPs at the Churchill Medical Centre in Kingston-Upon-Thames were prevented from opening a self-funded branch surgery on the basis of ‘preventing competition’ with a local APMS practice.

The GPs had already received a green light on leasing new premises before they were told their plans were being shelved by the PCT.

After hearing evidence from both parties, the Co-operation and Competition Panel said further investigation was warranted and it will now proceed with ‘stage two’ of its probe.

The panel monitors the implementation of DH rules on competition in the NHS and can force PCTs to commission alternative services or withdraw money from them

‘The conduct may reduce choice and competition in the relevant local area, which in turn could lead to lower levels of service, quality, efficiency and innovation.’

‘The conduct raises potential concerns under the Principles and Rules. Since the panel considers that further investigation is warranted we will proceed to a Phase Two investigation,’ the judgement reads.

The Co-operation and Competition Panel has published its judgement in full on its website.

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Now plans for the Euston super surgery shelved by NHS bosses

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories |

Camden News | By Tom Foot | NHS Camden | 26 November 2009

Eleventh-hour withdrawal of proposed GP-led flagship project ‘until summer’

HEALTH bosses have withdrawn proposals to open a flagship super surgery in Euston.

As revealed on our front page last week, NHS Camden had agreed to start a consultation programme with patients over their plans for the so-called “GP-led health centre” in St Stephenson House, Hampstead Road. An initial meeting was due to be held at the Town Hall tonight (Thursday).

But in a sudden change of heart, the discussion has been cancelled and plans for the surgery have been shelved.
Campaigners – who have fought the proposals to stop private firm Care UK being awarded the £20million contract to run the new surgery – are claiming victory following the unexpected climbdown.

Chairman of Camden Keep Our NHS Public Candy Udwin said: “It shows that if you stick together and keep pushing you can win.”

NHS Camden only agreed to a full consultation – effectively the process of asking patients how they felt about it – after campaigners threatened legal action over a decision to open the super clinic with private operators.

Chief executive Dr Mark Atkinson announced a fortnight ago that a three month consultation would begin on December 1, adding: “You should in no way doubt my commitment or the commitment of the staff at NHS Camden to make this happen.”

But days after making that statement the scheme has been withdrawn and no update is expected until next summer.

Lib Dem councillor John Bryant, chairman of the council’s health and overview scrutiny committee, said: “It is my understanding that nothing will happen on this now until June. I can only speculate that NHS Camden has received guidance from the Department of Health to hold off on any decisions until after the election. 

“There may be a change of policy if there is a new government with a different policy in primary care.”

The Government had told all Primary Care Trusts they must open at least one GP-led health centre to scoop-up patients from hospitals which are facing huge cuts to funding for some treatments.

In an unusual stance, NHS Camden last night (Wednesday) closed ranks and declined to comment on the latest development despite repeated calls from the New Journal.

Patients, doctors and politicians from all of the major political parties have been campaigning against the privatisation of Camden health services since American health giant UnitedHealth UK was awarded the contract to run three south

Camden GP surgeries in April 2008.

• Keep Our NHS Public has called a public meeting in Dick Collins Hall in Regent’s Park on Monday from 6.30pm.

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Unions to investigate NHS providers that oppose US health reform

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Healthcare Republic | Nick Bostock | 26 November 2009

Unions have launched a campaign to protest at private healthcare firms working with the NHS but trying to derail proposals to extend public health provision in the US.

They point to the ‘irony’ of firms bidding for contracts to provide services for the UK NHS, but at the same time ‘spending millions to stop reforms’ that could offer services to the 47 million Americans who currently have no healthcare cover.

A global union – Workers Uniting – set up by UK union Unite in partnership with the United Steelworkers union, which operates in the US and Canada, has expressed ‘dismay’ at the firms’ stance.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant secretary, said: ‘The global union is launching an investigation of the preferred bidders chosen by the DoH to work within the NHS.’

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Health bosses rapped

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories |

Willesden & Brent Times | NHS Camden | 26 November 2009

HEALTH chiefs have been accused of showing contempt for residents and ignoring their responsibilities after producing a paper on a new health centre – which had no idea where Kilburn was.

NHS Camden drew the ire of the public and politicians after writing a draft paper on Easy Access Health Centres in the borough in which they claim Fortune Green is in Kilburn.

The document is part of a consultation to put two GP led health centres in the borough that would be able to see registered and non-registered patients from 8am to 8pm 365 days a year with or without an appointment.

In it, NHS Camden says Kilburn is an area with a need for such a centre because it has one of the lowest life expectancies in the borough.

The paper reads: ‘We propose to locate the Easy Access Centre for the north of the borough in the Fortune Green area of Kilburn.’

Furious residents hit back calling it a disgrace and said there must be a greater commitment from NHS Camden to residents in the area.

Lesley Clyne, 60, of Priory Park Road, Kilburn, said: “I have lived in Kilburn all my life and that has never been a part of the area.

“To put a clinic in Fortune Green and call it Kilburn, is an insult to people down here. It is very disrespectful.

“I have faith in the NHS but they want to go back to the drawing board and look at a map of the area and see what is what.”

Ed Fordham, of Quex Road, Kilburn, and Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said: “This is really serious – we have major concerns that NHS Camden are not taking seriously their statutory responsibility to tackle health issues in Kilburn and here we have the evidence that they don’t even know where Kilburn is. 

“Frankly, this is at best daft and at worst offensive and misleading.”

Cllr Janet Grauberg, Kilburn ward, Camden Council, said: “It makes me angry that this organisation seems to know so little about where people live and how they live their lives, that they can write something like this.” 

NHS Camden was unavailable for comment but the Times understands the offending note has since been taken out.

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£11m health centre to join new hospital

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

This is Somerset | 26 November 2009

A multi-million pound health centre to meet the needs of Frome residents for the next half a century could be built by January 2012.

The final piece of the jigsaw to complete the promised health park on the former Frome Cheese Show site has now been revealed.

The new community hospital was opened in June 2008 but at the time plans to build a new health centre next to it were shelved.

Now, following months of discussion and negotiation, a planning application for a new £11 million health centre is to be submitted to Mendip District Council in January.

The new centre will replace the 40-year-old building in Park Road, the Saffron Surgery in Berkley Road and the Fromefield Surgery, a satellite of the Beckington practice.

The Beckington surgery will remain open, as will the operation at Locks Hill, to provide healthcare for families living in the Keyford and The Mount areas of Frome.

The new centre will have a pharmacy, an optician and a dental surgery, and there will be a coffee shop for patients and staff and an in-house gym. It will house more than 30 doctors, there will be a private clinic for visiting consultants, a minor operating suite and an educational suite.

Dr Mark Vose, who has been one of the partners involved in plans for the new health centre, said it would mean more care provided locally.

He said: “We are just not able to operate as we are at the moment, there is not enough space to fulfil our ethos of ‘what can be done in Frome should be done in Frome’.”

Doctors believe that a state-of-the-art hospital and health centre side by side will also provide a high level of health care which in turn will attract highly-trained health care staff.

The new building will be on two storeys with three pods, part of which will have green sedum roof. The practice has been working with groups such as Sustainable Frome and V4F to produce an ecological building incorporating ground source heating and rainfall recovery systems.

Senior partner Dr Tina Merry described the health park as unique, providing an opportunity to provide healthcare for a growing population for the next 50 years.

The practice is also hoping that a large number of outpatient procedures will be delivered locally and doctors will also be able to introduce more complex work currently only undertaken in hospitals outside Frome. The close proximity between the health centre and the hospital will also benefit patients. Drawings of the centre will be on display in the four health centres and the hospital.

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Devizes’ health switch ‘makes sense’

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

This is Wiltshire | Jill Crooks | NHS Wiltshire | 26 November 2009

NHS Wiltshire says the last minute switch in sites for the proposed Devizes Primary Care Centre makes logical sense.

Map of Quakers Walk

It says that most patients who visit GP practices are aged 65 and over so putting the centre within a newly-announced planned retirement village at Quakers Walk would be best all round for patients.

St Monica Trust, a charity in Bristol, owns the ten acre site in question at Quakers Walk and runs four retirement complexes in Bristol and North Somerset.

The proposed retirement village will include 100 units of extra care housing, a day centre, indoor swimming pool, gym, shops, pharmacy and an 83-bed nursing home.

Just a few months ago NHS Wiltshire and GPs said it was logical to build the Primary Care Centre next to the NHS Treatment Centre in Green Lane. The Treatment Centre, run by a private company, had agreed that patients using the Primary Care Centre could be sent there to have X-rays.

So if the Quakers Walk plan goes ahead patients face the prospect of travelling across town for X-rays. It had taken almost two years for NHS Wiltshire and the town’s GPs to commit to the Green Lane site and only eight weeks ago plans were on display. The developer of the Primary Care Centre at Green Lane, Matrix Medical, confirmed that it was no longer involved in the project.

Jeff James, chief executive of NHS Wiltshire, said no thought had been given to the future use of the NHS land at Green Lane and he would not speculate if it could be sold for housing.

He also reiterated that Devizes Hospital and Family Health Centre would remain open until the centre was built.

Devizes MP Michael Ancram said he was surprised at the late change of location for the Primary Care Centre.

He said: “I will want to see details to reassure myself that what they are proposing will provide the equivalent health provision that was envisaged for Green Lane and also confirmation that it will be going ahead quite a lot earlier than Green Lane would have done.”

A spokeswoman for St Monica Trust said: “We have been thinking about creating a development in Devizes for some time and we have been talking to GPs about working in partnership in the last couple of months.”

A new access road into the Quakers Walk site is being built off London Road but a spokesman for the St Monica Trust was unable to say if this would be the only access.

Speaking on behalf of the three GP practices in Devizes Dr Ian Williams, a partner at Southbroom Surgery, said: “Change is always unsettling and this isn’t a decision we have taken lightly but we are very glad that we and NHS Wiltshire remain fully committed to the development of a Primary Care Centre for Devizes.

“We firmly believe that the newly proposed location for the centre, which is closer to the middle of town, makes sense.”

A public exhibition will be held about the proposals for the Primary Care Centre and the retirement village at Devizes Town Hall on Friday December 4 between 3pm and 7pm.


January 2007 – Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (now called NHS Wiltshire) agrees to develop a Primary Care Centre in Devizes to open in January 2009. The PCT favoured NHS land in Green Lane as the site but needed to get agreement from local GPs.

June 2008 – The three GP surgeries in Devizes agree to relocate to a Primary Care Centre. A public survey is carried out on three possible locations – Green Lane, Quakers Walk and Southgate House (the PCT’s headquarters in Pans Lane). Only 10.7 per cent of people wanted Quakers Walk.

September 2008 – The PCT decides on Green Lane after hearing that it was the GPs’ preference.

October 1 2009 – Plans for the Primary Care Centre at Green Lane are exhibited at Devizes Town Hall but the PCT said the project had been delayed after concerns by planners at Wiltshire Council to the design.

November 2 2009 – The privately-run NHS Treatment Centre opens in Green Lane. This is where minor operations are carried out on NHS patients.

November 26 2009 – NHS Wiltshire and the GPs now wish to build the Primary Care Centre as part of a retirement village planned by the charity St Monica Trust on land next to Quakers Walk. If a plans are approved the centre could open in late 2011.

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U-turn on health in Devizes

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

This is Wiltshire | Jill Crooks | NHS Wiltshire | 26 November 2009

Plans for a health centre in Green Lane, Devizes, have been ditched at the 11th hour and instead health bosses are planning to build it next to the Quakers Walk housing development.

The choice of land at Quakers Walk, which is between the site for 244 new homes and the allotments, flies in the face of a public survey carried out last year, which resulted in just ten per cent support for the site.

The centre, called a Primary Care Centre, would house the three GP surgeries in Devizes – Southbroom, St James and Lansdowne – and services currently provided at Devizes Hospital and the Family Health Centre.

Philippa Morgan, on behalf of the Quakers Walk Protection Group, said: “This about turn by NHS Wiltshire is outrageous. The views of the community have been completely ignored. Of the 1,078 people who responded to the public survey just over ten per cent of people regarded the Quakers Walk site as the best option. Without any further consultation NHS Wiltshire has decided to completely ignore public opinion and go for the least popular and most contentious option.

“From a traffic perspective the consequences of what will surely be a large number of vehicles travelling to this centre along the already congested London Road are dire.”

NHS Wiltshire and the GPs had agreed on unused NHS owned land at Green Lane as the site for the centre. The land is next to the newly opened NHS Treatment Centre, which carries out minor operations and is run by a private company.

Just eight weeks ago artists’ impressions of the Primary Care Centre at Green Lane were shown at an exhibition at the town hall. But this week NHS Wiltshire announced they want the centre to be part of a newly announced retirement village that the St Monica Trust charity wants to build on a ten acre site next to Quakers Walk.

Jeff James, chief executive of NHS Wiltshire, said: “This is an unforeseen change in the project but we and the GPs are clear that the opportunity to work with St Monica’s on a joint scheme will offer the best outcome for people in Devizes and the surrounding area.

“Because of the way the St Monica proposal is structured it looks as though we can go ahead more quickly than at Green Lane.”

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New investment in Harrow’s health service

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

Labour Matters | Harrow Labour | 26 November 2009

In the past 12 months three new polyclinics have started work in Harrow.

The Urgent Care Centre at Northwick Park was the first and is open every day from 8am to 11pm at night. The Alexandra Avenue Polyclinic opened in June and is open to anyone to drop in from 8am to 8pm, while just last week the Pinn Medical Centre in Love Lane, Pinner, had its official launch. It too is open from 8am to 8pm for anyone concerned about their health to drop in without an appointment.

These fantastic new facilities, run by local GPs and nurses, are helping to make medical care more local and more accessible. Many services or appointments that you used to have to visit a major hospital to benefit from are now provided at these new polyclinics.

These three fantastic facilities have been championed by local doctors. The superb Pinn Medical Centre is led by the excellent Dr Amol Kelshiker and partners, while Dr David Lloyd, Dr Ken Walton and their partners lead a superb operation at the Alexandra Avenue polyclinic.

When you add to this good news the fact that the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre’s future has been secured and stroke patients are getting their own specialist centre at Northwick Park, the NHS in Harrow is riding high.

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GP-Led Walk In health Centre at ASDA

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

Belmont Voice | Forum | By Glenda Powell | NHS Herefordshire | 26 November 2009

Soon people in Hereford will be able to walk into a health centre, without an appointment, to see a GP or nurse, seven days a week between 8am and 8pm. The service will be launched just before Christmas.

NHS Herefordshire is setting up the service at the ASDA Health Centre in the city fromMonday 14 december. It will be an interim arrangement until a permanent walk-in health centre is built next year, with govermment funding of £1.5 million.

The ASDA Health Centre will be open over the festive holiday. Patients will be able to use the new services while remaining registered with their own GP. The phone number for the new service will be the same as the current number to call a GP out of hours – 0330 1239309.

The permanent new GP-led walk in health centre will replace the temporary service at ASDA, which will run until the new facility is opened. Discussions between NHS herefordshire and Herefordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to site permanently the new health centre at the hospital have been progressing strongly.

Cllr Glenda Powell.

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South East Health Clinical Care

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: |

SEH Ltd website | accessed 26 November 2009

SEH is to set up and run Walk In Centres in Hastings and Eastbourne, on behalf of NHS Hastings and Rother and NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald respectively.

The two centres are part of a national £250million programme of  “open door” health facilities, set up following the Darzi Report. They will act as vehicles for health promotion by increasing access to health services.

In turn, this should help alleviate pressure on hospital A&E services. Set up in partnership with local GP practices, the SEH centres will open 12 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“These are very exciting projects for us, combining GP knowledge of local healthcare needs with SEH’s experience of management and technologies,” says Medical Director Mark Reynolds.

Both centres will have “open-door” policies, whereby patients can walk in and be seen by a GP or practice nurse within a couple of hours. Both also have station locations, within deprived wards specified by the PCTs.

The Hastings Walk In Centre will occupy the ground floor of the PCT-funded Station Plaza Primary Care Centre, now under construction. Situated next to Hastings Station, this £16million building will also house five GP practices, including the one that will partner SEH. The expected contract start date is June 2010.

In Eastbourne, SEH intends to convert a vacant café premises at the town’s Grade II Listed station into a new health centre. Subject to planning approval, this Walk In Centre is due to open in September.

Both centres will be staffed by a stable team of four to five GPs, with nursing support. The aim is that they will make access to health services more flexible and convenient. They will also provide an open access facility for people visiting or working in the towns who have an immediate need to see a GP.

The centres will start with empty GP lists and people will be offered the opportunity to register, with the aim of building up the lists to 3,000 in Hastings and 3,500 in Eastbourne. Health promotion and screening will be an important part of their work.

“We already provide the out of hours GP service for local people in Hastings and Eastbourne and will be working hard to ensure that the Walk In Centres provide the care and advice that people need,” says SEH chief executive Ron Owttrim.

“We are pleased to be working with local GPs to offer a wider choice and high standard of services to people in both areas.”

Eastbourne Station Health Centre

The Eastbourne Station Health Centre opened its doors on Tuesday November 17th 2009.  The Centre, converted from vacant café premises at the town’s Grade II Listed Railway Station, has been set up and is being run by South East Health on behalf of NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald.

Opening hours:

            08.00 hours to 20.00 hours – 7 days a week, 365 days a year

The centre has an “open-door” policy, whereby patients can walk in and be seen by a GP or practice nurse within a couple of hours.  As well as the walk-in service appointments are available.


Appointments can be made by:

  • Walking into the centre,
  • Telephoning 01323 726650 during opening hours


  • If the centre is closed call 03000242424

The centre is staffed by:

  • A team of GPs, nurses and health care assistants supported by a management and administration team
  • For any specific details please contact a member of the administration team or the Primary Care Business Manager, Nicola Gowers on 01323 746390

The GP Health Centre is committed to providing Patient-Centred Services.  There will always be a clinician at the centre and services the centre will provide includes:

  • Access to services for walk-in patients
  • Access to emergency appointment if clinically indicated
  • Access to a GP for registered and non-registered patients
  • Walk-in, Book-on-the day, advance and routine appointments
  • Access to all general medical services
  • Domiciliary visits in accordance with our home visiting guidelines.
  • Chronic Disease Management for disease areas such as Diabetes, Asthma and Coronary Heart Disease
  • Health Promotion
  • Disease Prevention
  • Services addressing key local health issues
  • Enhanced services to include; Minor Injuries, Sexual Health, Smoking Cessation

The centre is taking on new patients.  If you wish for the centre to be your main GP service and wish to register as a patient please call into the centre or contact a member of the administration team for further information on 01323 726650

The First Few Days

Well it’s the 17th November and today is our first day!  We’ve had two weeks of intense training, Nic our lovely manager has been working 24/7 for the past couple of weeks and her poor partner has begun to think that he is now a single man! We’ve had the media in and even the local mayor came to see the new surgery. 

We’re based at Eastbourne Train Station and we’re known as the Eastbourne Station Health Centre.  We’re open 8am-8pm, seven days a week, including Bank Holidays and Christmas Day! We have a team of 16 ladies, no men (at the moment!) who include the administrators/receptionist’s, doctors, nurses and Health CAre Assistants (HCAs).  We’re very much a team and all respect each other. 

The first day was manic, and there was us thinking it was going to be oh so quiet!  No chance!!!!  The doors opened dead on 8am and people were waiting at the doors, well ok, that was the staff trying to get in! No, seriously, there were patients waiting to get into the surgery.  We had people wanting to register with us, on day one, that is magnificent!   We’ve had many, many people coming to see us and asking us how we work, all thanks to the media coverage. 

 Why not come and check out our new surgery, you’d be more than welcome!

-Tracey Hibbett 19/11/2009

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Camden PCT shelves plans to give contract to private company for new GP led health centre

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Journals, Providers | Tags: |

British Medical Journal | By Clare Dyer | News | 26 November 2009

A primary care trust’s controversial decision to award a £20m [{euro}22m; $33m] contract for a GP led health centre in London to a private company has been put on hold after campaigners threatened legal action.

NHS Camden has now shelved its plan to give Care UK Ltd a contract to open the big health centre in Hampstead Road near Euston station and has agreed to consult the public on whether the centre should go ahead.

Tony Stanton, joint chief executive of the Londonwide LMCs (local medical committees), which represents NHS GPs and their practice teams in London, said, “There has been a lot of unhappiness about the way in which Camden PCT conducted the procurement process for their GP led health centre. The LMC is very pleased that there is to be a proper public consultation.”

Lawyers for Camden Keep Our NHS Public and the former Labour Camden councillor . . . [Full text of this article]

Published 26 November 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b5025
Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5025

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LMCs draw up federation blueprint to protect against ‘APMS-hungry PCTs’

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Federations, News stories | Tags: |

Pulse | By Lilian Anekwe | 26 November 2009

Londonwide LMCs are working on new plans to help practices group together into federations to avoid small practices being ‘picked off’ by their PCTs.

Small practices in London are increasingly being forced either to close or to aggregate into groups of practices, according to Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage, and need to explore GP federations or risk being targeted for closure by trusts.

‘We are trying to advise practices that want to federate and offer a package of advice on how to do that, and promoting the fact that these can be done.

‘What practices don’t have at the moment is a description of what federations should look like, in legal and financial terms.’

‘We’re trying to offer practices a range of options that will help them move out of the target zone of being a small practice in the spotlight of the PCT for inappropriate reasons and toward something more appropriate.’

Dr Drage said Londonwide LMCs were also exploring ways of offering salaried and sessional GPs more career opportunities, and cited the Hurley Clinic – whose partners include RCGP vice chair Dr Clare Gerada – as an example of a practice offering an ‘intermediate partnership’ that allows GPs to take a step up the career ladder.

GPs at the Hurley Clinic, in Kennington, south east London, can join the group as a stakeholder – helping to run the practice and keeping a share of the profits – while aspiring to become a full partner within the group itself.

‘The current model of partnership is not providing them with the autonomy that they seek and one of the things we are supportive of is providing career progression for salaried and sessional GPs who are looking for them,’ said Dr Drage.

‘We are looking at how we can create career development opportunities without the millstone round doctors’ necks of having to have equity and so on.’

‘It’s overt, how practices are still being picked off because it does not fit the model. It will be important for small practices that when they come up for retirement they invest in the future rather than allowing themselves to be picked off by APMS-hungry PCTs.’

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Burnham is right to confirm the NHS as key healthcare provider

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: News stories |

The Guardian | Letters | 25 November 2009

Andy Burnham should be congratulated for his decision to ensure that the NHS is given “preferred provider” status (Andy Burnham told charities at risk in policy shift, 23 November). It shows he has listened to the professionals that the NHS, not the private or not-for-profit sector, is best placed to provide health services and he is aware of the dangers of a fragmented healthcare system, with a myriad of organisations competing for contracts, rather than co-operating to provide the best care for patients. Unite represents workers in the not-for-profit sector as well as the NHS. We know that the not-for-profit sector cannot provide the stability needed for health provision due to its short-term funding, high staff turnover, and its race to the bottom on staff pay and terms and conditions.

As we have seen in the provision of services for children, charities do not share best practice as they compete with each other over contracts. There is also no guarantee that, where not-for-profit organisations win contracts at the beginning of this outsourcing process, they will hang on to those contracts next time round. We are then left with the very real danger of US healthcare multinationals becoming involved to extract maximum profits.

We believe that charities do have a place in the health service, but as add-on services, such as Macmillan nurses. Healthcare should be provided by a publicly accountable and comprehensive NHS. Andy Burnham has turned his back on the dogmatic approach that says anything is better than the public sector. He should be applauded for that.

Rachael Maskell National officer, not-for-profit, Karen Reay National officer, health sector

Unite the union

• The government’s support of the NHS as the preferred provider is no threat to charities. Not unless the advocates of the free market in healthcare are now arguing that the third sector should face no competition from the NHS when their contracts come up for renewal. The NHS preferred-provider policy is a sensible statement of process. Over 90% of healthcare services are provided by the NHS. Does it really make sense to subject them all to a free market, as Professors Le Grand andCorrigan argue?

As the head of the NHS, David Nicholson, recently wrote to all NHS chief executives: “Service improvement and redesign should not be something that is imposed on NHS staff, but something they own and lead.”

NHS services will not be improved by wholesale tendering, fragmentation and privatisation. The key to improving NHS services is through staff engagement and cross-organisation co-operation, not through the costly disruption of tendering services. The third sector has always had a niche role in the delivery of specialised NHS services. This is not threatened by a policy that focuses on continual improvement of healthcare.

Mike Jackson

National officer (health), Unison

Andy Burnham told charities at risk in policy shift

The Guardian | Allegra Stratton, political correspondent | 23 November 2009

Leading health experts round on the health secretary Andy Burnhamtoday, warning him off reversing a Labour programme of modernisation and competition within the health service.

Burnham surprised cabinet ministers and policy officials alike when he announced in September that the NHS would return to the “preferred provider” model of services that existed before the government opened the service to charities and voluntary groups.

Burnham’s shift in policy now endangers the near £5bn worth of services the third sector currently provides and waters down a commitment in the 2005 Labour party manifesto that the party would consider third-sector providers “on equal terms” with those run in-house.

Department of Health policy had been that “any willing provider” should be considered when commissioning services. Within Burnham’s new rules, where NHS service providers underperform, the primary care trust will work with the provider, giving them a chance to improve. Where an independent or third sector contract expires, Burnham now wants the PCT to tender openly from the outset, giving NHS providers a chance to bid.

The move was regarded to be an overture to the unions that bankroll Labour as the party readies itself for a tricky six-month run-up to a general election,and Unison welcomed Burnham’s principle of “co-operation before competition”.

But Burnham’s policy directly contradicts those of his cabinet colleagues Liam Byrne, Tessa Jowell and Ed Miliband.

In a letter organised by the centre-left pressure group Progress, three leaders of charity healthcare providers and the two former government advisers, professors Julian le Grand and Paul Corrigan, warn the health secretary of “alienating” the sectors these other ministers are trying to encourage, saying access to NHS contracts has caused the charity and voluntary sector to double its turnover and increase its workforce by a third over the last 12 years.

Alongside the advisers, Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive at ACEVO; Simon Blake chief executive at Brook and Jeremy Swain, chief executive at Thames Reach, all believe that if Burnham does not reverse his commitment there will be a “detrimental impact on the future stability of the voluntary sector”.

They say third sector organisations business plans are now “confused” as to whether these opportunities will continue to exist under a future Labour government.

They write: “The presumption that the private and voluntary sectors should be considered on equal terms with state provided services has increased the capacity of the NHS to provide high-quality services.

“We would like to ask you to rethink your approach to the NHS as the preferred provider of services as we build up to the next election. Now is not the time to alienate important sectors that hold much goodwill and are potentially the key to the citizen-centred, high-quality health services of the future.”

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Pay GPs and hospital specialists to work together on PBC, says NHS Alliance

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Pulse | Tom Ireland | 25 November 2009

Incentivised partnerships between GPs and hospital specialists could kick-start practice-based commissioning, according to the NHS Alliance.


A report suggests that PBC has become unfit for purpose in its present form

A joint report by the NHS Alliance and think-tank The Nuffield Trust says radical solutions are needed to ‘nudge clinically-led commissioning into life.’ 

Beyond PBC proposes multi-specialty groups of clinicians take responsibility for designing health services.

These ‘local clinical partnerships’ (LCPs) should be given population-based budgets covering at least 100,000 people, the reports says. It also suggests adding incentives into to GMS and PMS contracts to get GPs to join an LCP.

PBC has become ‘unfit for purpose in its present form,’ the report suggests.

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