Providers

New Health and Wellbeing Centre to Open

Posted on December 22, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

NHS Stoke-on-Trent | 22 December 2009

Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre, located at 69/71 Stafford Street, will open to the public on New Year’s Eve December 31st.

A new health and wellbeing centre will open in Hanley, where people can get an appointment 8am – 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year – and they don’t have to be registered.

Graham Urwin, Chief Executive, NHS Stoke on Trent will be shown around the new Centre on Wednesday 30th, the day before it opens its doors and as well as chatting with the staff, he will have an opportunity to see for himself how the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre will operate.

Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre, located at 69/71 Stafford Street, will open to the public on New Year’s Eve December 31st, offering a full range of GP and nurse led appointments to anyone who wishes to use it, whether they are registered with a GP there or not.

The centre, which is opposite the Stafford Street entrance to The Potteries Shopping Centre, will offer anyone medical advice and consultation without the need to register with a GP at the centre and without an appointment.

Commenting on the new Centre, Chief Executive, NHS Stoke on Trent, Graham Urwin, said: “This new Centre is about providing access to GPs and nurses, as easily as possible, to the people we seek to serve and care for.

“NHS Stoke on Trent has got to continuously evolve and look at new and innovative ways of bringing healthcare to the community and the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre is a great service in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent.”

As well as providing a walk-in service for patients with minor illnesses or minor injuries, the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre will also offer a GP surgery where patients can register in the normal way.

The centre will be run by BH Health Ltd, a leading independent provider of primary care services, currently providing services to more than seven million patients across England.

NHS Stoke on Trent’s Head of Clinical Effectiveness and Quality Ian Gibson said: “The Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre will primarily be a GP practice, but you won’t need to register to be seen. If for example you’re feeling ill whilst out shopping in Hanley or you fall and need a treatment for a minor injury, the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre will be able to help you. It’s going to be a real asset to the area and will greatly improve access to primary care services.”

Edmund Jahn, Managing Director of BH Health Ltd said:”We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to provide the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre. The new facility has been commissioned by NHS Stoke on Trent and is part of a nation-wide programme, led by Lord Darzi, aimed at improving access to GP services and calling on every PCT in England to establish a GP led Health Centre open for 12 hours a day, every day of the week.

He added: “We have experience of running similar centres in other parts of the country and we are excited to have the opportunity of working in Stoke-on-Trent. We look forward to working with other health and social care services to improve health and well being in the city.”

Patients can walk in without an appointment or be referred to the centre by NHS Direct, GP practices, and other local services.

Shoppers can walk in for health checks

The Sentinel | 30 December 2009

A £1.3 MILLION health and well-being centre opens in Hanley city centre tomorrow.

People will be able to simply walk in to the centre to be treated for most non-life threatening illnesses from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Under the weather shoppers and workers will be guaranteed attention from a doctor or nurse within half an hour of arrival.

The first medical complex of its type in the Potteries has been quietly taking shape all year behind the closed doors of one of Hanley’s most prominent buildings.

Its location in the former Yorkshire Bank in Stafford Street, opposite the Potteries Shopping Centre, was deliberately chosen by city’s health officials to be as close as possible to Hanley’s busy commercial heart.

But shoppers have been left puzzled for months over the nature of the refurbishment going on under their noses in the 1907 building. It is only in the past few days that it has become obvious that here is a venture that will eventually be bringing cures and pain relief to thousands of people a year.

Up to four GPs, alongside teams of nurses and therapists, will be tending the sick in the eight interview rooms grouped around a light and spacious waiting area where the pleasing design has cleverly incorporated the structure’s original pillars.

It may not have the X-ray facilities or the scale of the city’s other walk-in centre at Burslem’s Haywood Hospital, but that is nurse-led and the difference in Hanley is that people will get to see a doctor.

The centre will also operate as a traditional GP practice with the aim of eventually having 6,000 patients registered.

And as a bonus three computer screens are available for people to access health information over the internet. Good health and lifestyle messages will also be broadcast from two television monitors in the front window.

The services are in the hands of private company BH Health Ltd which has won a five-year contract let by Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust. It has just appointed Worcester GP Dr Ian Laws as its clinical director and senior doctor.

Dr Laws said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the team here and looking forward to developing an entirely new GP-led service for patients in Stoke. Our focus will be on delivering high quality care for patients, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

The complex is the latest in a string of new PCT health centres transforming primary care in the Potteries. One opened in Meir in September and the next will appear in Middleport on March 1. Planning is also continuing for new health centres in Tunstall and Cobridge. Ian Gibson, PCT head of quality, said: “We looked at other locations in the city centre including the planned regeneration of the bus station site.

“But when this building became available we knew it was in an ideal spot to help people who have gone off their feet while shopping, have become breathless or have had a fall or other minor injury.”

PCT chief executive Graham Urwin, pictured left, added: “NHS Stoke-on-Trent has got to continuously evolve and look at innovative ways of bringing healthcare to the community and the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre is a great service in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent.”

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Take Care Now loses second out-of-hours contract

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

Pulse | By Gareth Iacobucci | 21 December 2009

An private out-of-hours provider which came under fire over the death of a patient under the care of one of its foreign locum GPs has lost its second contract in a matter of weeks.

NHS Suffolk has announced it will not renew its contract with Take Care Now – which is due to expire in March 2010 – and has chosen Harmoni to take over out-of-hours responsibility in the county.

Take Care Now, which is based in Suffolk, has been under growing pressure following the death of 70-year-old David Gray last year, who died after being given an accidental overdose by German doctor Dr Daniel Ubani, working his first out-of-hours shift in the UK for the company in Cambridgeshire.

The contract is the second lost by the firm in recent weeks, after it had its contract with NHS Cambridgeshire terminated prematurely last month after failing new spot checks.

It follows a damning report on the David Gray case by the Care Quality Commission, which urged PCTs across the country to place closer scrutiny the performance of GP out-of-hours services, or risk failing to spot serious patient safety issues.

Andrew Hassan, medical director at NHS Suffolk, said: ‘The panel felt the arrangements of this provider [Harmoni] for clinical governance were robust and safe, its quality of care arrangements strong, and ideas for improvement and development of a quality service innovative.’

‘We would like to reassure people across Suffolk that during the transition period between service providers, we will make sure that the safety of patients using the service, and their clinical care, remains our top priority.’

A spokesman for Take Care Now said: ‘Take Care Now has expressed disappointment at not having been re-awarded the contract to run the out-of-hours service for NHS Suffolk but has committed to continuing to deliver innovative and patient-centred care in other areas for NHS Suffolk.’

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Competition panel rules in GPs’ favour in branch surgery battle

Posted on December 18, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Gareth Iacobucci | NHS Kingston | 18 December 2009

The Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP) has ruled in favour of a local GP practice after concluding that a PCT’s decision to prevent them from expanding their practice nearby was ‘inconsistent’ with competition rules.

The panel ruled that NHS Kingston’s decision to deny Churchill Medical Centre the chance to open a new branch surgery was at odds with the Principles and Rules for Co-operation and Competition, and urged the DH and NHS London to ensure that the PCT allowed the practice to proceed with its plans.

Pulse first reported the conflict last year, after the PCT blocked the practice’s plans to open a new branch surgery on the grounds that it might have threatened the viability of a new APMS service, run by private provider AT Medical.

The review – which followed a complaint by the practice that the decision was anti-competitive and restrictive to patient choice – said it had taken into account the best interests of local patients, as well as value for money for taxpayers.

The panel concluded that the decision to deny the opening of a branch surgery would have prevented around 1,500 patients from accessing their first choice for more convenient GP services, and may have undermined improvements in service quality for local patients more generally.

Dr Charles Alessi, a GP at the Churchill Medical Centre, who had previously described the PCTs position as ‘untenable’, said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

He said: ‘I’m very pleased we can put this behind us and concentrate of healthcare. We’re happy we had a fair hearing, I hope the PCT will allow us to proceed.’

CCP Director, Andrew Taylor said: ‘We carefully considered NHS Kingston’s concerns that allowing the new branch practice to open may negatively impact on the viability of a nearby practice and impose additional financial costs on NHS Kingston.’

‘However, the panel’s view is that any potential adverse effects arising from the opening of the new branch surgery are likely to be small or immaterial. Any such effects would not be sufficient to outweigh the potential benefits to local patients and taxpayers of improved access, choice and quality derived from the introduction of the new branch surgery.’

Mr Taylor added: ‘Our recommendation takes into account a number of factors specific to this case, in particular Churchill Medical Centre’s willingness to develop the new branch surgery at its own cost and having not sought reimbursement for this initial outlay, ongoing rent or other costs normally requested by GP practices from a Primary Care Trust.’

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NHS Herefordshire launches new walk-in GP centre

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , , |

Hereford Times | NHS Herefordshire | 17 December 2009

PEOPLE feeling under the weather can now walk into a new health centre without an appointment to see a GP or nurse in Hereford.

NHS Herefordshire launched the new service, available seven days a week between 8am and 8pm, next to the ASDA store on Monday.

“When we consulted the public, there was strong support for a walkin health centre, which will supplement the excellent service already provided by GPs in the county,” said Chris Bull, chief executive of NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council The centre will open over the festive period and patients can use the service while remaining registered with their own GP.

The phone number for the new service is 0330 123 9309 – the same as the current number to call a GP out of hours.

The centre is being run for NHS Herefordshire by Primecare and is temporary until a permanent walk-in health centre is built next year.

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New GP- Led Health Centre Open

Posted on December 16, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

NHS Milton Keynes | News Release | 16 December 2009

NHS Milton Keynes is pleased to announce that the new GP-led health centre is now open.

Milton Keynes’ 28th GP practice is based in Broughton Gate. It is open from 8am until 8pm seven days a week, including weekends. The health centre offers all the services offered by a traditional GP practice. People who live anywhere within the Milton Keynes area are able to use the health centre’s services, whether or not they are registered with the practice.

Clive Brookes, Interim Director of Contracts at NHS Milton Keynes, said: “This is an exciting development for primary care in Milton Keynes. Not only will the health centre provide high-quality and safe care, it will improve local people’s access to basic primary care services by offering longer opening hours.”

The new health centre is run by The Practice, after going through a selection process to be identified as the provider. The Practice is one of the UK’s leading providers of primary care services, operating GP surgeries and new style GP-led health centres as well as providing community based specialist clinical services for the NHS.

Debbie Raven, Chief Operating Officer at The Practice, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract and look forward to working with the healthcare community in Milton Keynes – this will be key to the success of this project.

“Patients’ reaction to the flexibility and improved access at our other GP-led health centres has been overwhelmingly positive – I’m sure we will see a similar response here.”

ENDS

The GP-led health centre is based at Glyn Valley Place, Broughton Gate, Milton Keynes MK10 7EF. Tel: 01908 874444

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NHS Westminster: GP-led Health Centres & Polyclinics

Posted on December 15, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Polyclinics, Providers, Reports/papers | Tags: , |

NHS Westminster | Committee Report | Health Consultations and Service Development | 15 December 2009 [word]

GP-led Health Centres

The introduction of GP-Led Health Centres is a nationally driven initiative to extend access to primary care services in response to the findings of Lord Darzi’s review that notes access as a significant concern for patients and service users.

The minimum services specified by the Department of Health for the GP led health centres were as follows:

  • Core GP services
  • Open 8am to 8pm 7 days a week
  • Bookable GP appointments and walk-in services
  • Registered and non-registered patients.

London PCT’s were asked to commission at least one GP-Led Health Centre by March 31st 2009.

In 2008, NHS Westminster initiated a programme of work to procure 2 GP-Led Health Centres for the north and south of the borough in areas of highest health need.  Unfortunately in the Victoria/Pimlico area difficulties were encountered in finding suitable premises for this new service and therefore we have not been able to proceed. We remain committed to providing extra GP services in the south of the borough and are currently exploring all available options to ensure that we deliver the best services possible for local people.

The contract for the GP-Led Health Centre in the north of the borough was awarded to Malling Health LLP and premises for the service have been identified in Queens Park.

A temporary premises solution has been secured while the permanent location is being made fit for purpose.  The GP led health centre opened in this temporary location on 26 October 2009.  The service is called Malling Health at Westminster.  The practice is open for patients 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week at Woodchester Square, W2.  The practice is adequately staffed with clinical and administrative personnel.  The Practice is expected to move into the permanent premises by June 2010.

Whilst in the temporary location, Malling Health will be operating under the same contractual arrangements as they will in the permanent location, including the provision of the full range of services within their contract.

Polyclinics

NHS Westminster is consulting with residents in two areas on the development of new Polysystems for the provision of out-of-hospital and primary care services. The two areas have been designated as Queen’s Park and Paddington – which covers Queen’s Park, Harrow Road, Westbourne, Bayswater, Lancaster gate and Hyde Park – and Central Westminster – which covers Bryanston & Dorset Square, Marylebone High Street, The West End, Abbey Road, Maida Vale, Little Venice, Regent’s Park, Church Street.

A polysystem is simply a network of community health services – clinics, health centres and GP surgeries – which all work together to care for patients.  It can organise for patients to get the care they need more efficiently, support patients in getting more care nearer to home and reduce the number of trips patients have to make into hospital.

GPs will be able to offer tests, appointments and treatment more quickly and conveniently.  It will also be easier to get an urgent appointment or go to a walk-in service near to home or work.  It can offer more health services in a community setting.  Examples include:

  • urgent care and walk-in services
  • diagnostics such as blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds
  • community nursing
  • physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry
  • minor surgery
  • hearing tests and hearing aid fitting
  • obstetric and maternity appointments
  • support to help with a long term condition
  • outpatient clinics
  • mental health clinics
  • sexual health clinics.

It will offer these services alongside the traditional community health services (GPs, NHS dentistry and pharmacies) and well-being services from the local authority from housing and benefits advice to debt counselling or support in getting back to work.  When a GP surgery becomes part of a polysystem, patients will still see their own GP as before.  In addition, they will also be able to see the other GPs and healthcare professionals that are part of the network.

NHS Westminster is running two separate consultations, one in each proposed polysystem area.  The proposals have been developed by local Practice-Based Commissioning Clusters in partnership with NHS Westminster to reflect local needs and experience.  Although the NHS London policy of developing polysystems is being implemented by NHS Westminster, it is important that each one is tailored to the needs and views of local residents, patients, stakeholders, GPs and other professional clinical staff.

All stakeholders on the NHS Westminster database will be contacted in the relevant areas and invited to contribute to the consultation.  NHS Westminster will also be offering stakeholders the opportunity to attend meetings to discuss and listen to local views.  Online questionnaires and response mechanisms are also being made available and consultation materials will also be available online, in GP practices and other NHS facilities as well as in libraries.

Feedback from the consultations will be collated and analysed.  Separate reports will be created for consideration by the NHS Westminster Board and will be made available online and in a feedback document to stakeholders and respondees to the consultation.

The NHS Westminster Board will then consider the responses to the consultations in developing the service specification and implementation plan.

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Horizon Health Choices Ltd

Posted on December 7, 2009. Filed under: Providers | Tags: |

Horizon Health Choices website | About Us | accessed 7 December 2009

Horizon Health Choices is an independent healthcare provider that supports the NHS in delivering patient services. We have listened to our patients and we endeavour to offer patients a service that has low waiting times, high levels of patient satisfaction and is closer to their home. Horizon Health Choices is proud to work in partnership with health and social care providers to ensure that the services we provide enable patients to move between services and providers with ease.

We are a clinically driven business that employs high calibre staff from around the world. We place great emphasis upon employing clinicians and support staff that have excelled in the delivery of healthcare services. The experience and energy that we deploy in our services translates into a constant drive for improvement and achievement. We strive to be innovative in our approach to the provision of healthcare services by empowering clinicians to lead the services that they provide.

Our Team

Executive Team

Clinical Team

Administration Team

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Doors open for area’s walk-in health centre

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Middleton Guardian | NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale | 3 December 2009

A REVOLUTIONARY health centre has opened its doors in Middleton and promises to provide a unique service for residents.

Located on the first floor of Middleton Shopping Centre, Middleton Health Centre is the only place in the borough where people can walk in and see a doctor with or without an appointment.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale have provided the funding for the project following an in-depth consultation with residents on what services they would prefer in the town and extra provisions for children and families came top of the list.

The vibrant, spacious and colourful centre is fully equipped with the latest medical equipment and includes features such as a conference room for staff training and a dedicated area in the waiting room for breastfeeding.

Practice Manager Vicky Matthews said: “We’ve had a large amount of interest already with people looking through the windows and asking when we’re opening. I’ve lived in Middleton all of my life and think the health centre is just what the town needs and has wanted for some time.”

The centre has three main treatment rooms and five consultancy rooms and a 20-strong team of dedicated staff will be available, and there will be more potential to generate further jobs in the future.

With the recent closure of Booth Hall Children’s Hospital and with it the Accident and Emergency department, the new centre will provide vital urgent care for children and the centre will open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Laura Neilson, Chief Executive of Hope Citadel Healthcare, the company which provides services at the centre, said: “As well as providing all of the usual GP services like appointments, prescriptions and tests, we will have a focus on services that will support children and families.”

The NHS’ plan was to bring more doctors to Middleton to places where they are needed the most and the location of the centre, in the heart of the town, makes it extremely accessible for residents.

John Pierce, chairman of NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, said: “The Middleton Health Centre helps people to see a doctor when they need to and will hopefully decrease the number of patients who go to A and E when they don’t have to.”

It has been a long two-year process from planning and consultation and now staff are excited and ready to open the health facility to patients.

Chair of the Middleton Township Peter Williams said: “The health centre is absolutely fantastic for Middleton. I am really impressed with the quality of the premises and the range of services that are on offer and it will help more people to see a doctor when they need to.”

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Opening of £3million West Lancashire Health Centre

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Ormskirk Advertiser | By Janine Yaqoob | NHS Central Lancashire | 3 December 2009

A NEW £3million state-of-the-art health centre has opened in Ormskirk.

West Lancashire Health Centre, based at Ormskirk & District General Hospital, officially opened its doors on Monday and is expected to improve health services for people across the district.

The centre provides pre-booked and drop-in GP services from 8am until 8pm, seven days a week for both registered ad unregistered patients.

Drop-in advice and treatment for minor injuries is also available all week, from 8am until 10pm. This includes blood tests and x-rays.

Launching later this month will be a GP out-of-hours service.

Also opening in December will be NHS dental services, including an emergency service from 10am until 10pm all week. This service will offer NHS places for 11,700 people.

Peter Tinson, Assistant Director of Commissioning at NHS Central Lancashire, said: “It is great the see the health centre finally up and running after over 12 months of work.

“It looks great, really modern, fresh and welcoming.

“People will be able access health services seven days a week, from morning until night.

“Next week the dentist surgery will open and I would encourage people to register for the service as there are still a number of places available.”

One of the first people to use the facility was Joanne Owen from Skelmersdale.

She said: “The new centre is clean, colourful and much better than facilities than there was before.

“The staff are very helpful and it is easily accessible.”

MP Rosie Cooper said: “I am absolutely delighted that having campaigned hard for improved health services the doors are open on the new £3million health care facility, as promised.

“The people of the area deserve nothing less.”

The centre will run by the West Lancashire Partnership. This is a partnership of the West Lancashire out-of-hours GP service (OWLS) and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

For more information about services please call 0800 032 2424 or 01695 588 059.

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LMCs to investigate career route to suit salaried GPs

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Polyclinics, Providers | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | GP Newspaper | By Tom Ireland | 3 December 2009

Londonwide LMCs is developing a model of ‘intermediate partnership’ to help salaried or sessional GPs.

Dr Michele Drage: sessional GPs need career opportunities

The emergence of federated practices and polyclinics in the capital requires new models of GP partnership, said Londonwide LMCs joint chief executive, Dr Michelle Drage. ‘The current model of partnership does not seem to be providing (sessionals) with the autonomy they are looking for,’ said Dr Drage.

‘We are looking at how to create career opportunities, with the benefits of a partnership but without the millstone round their necks of having to own all the infrastructure.’

One option would allow salaried GPs to become stakeholders and run one of a group of practices without investing in property and infrastructure.

Dr Drage cited The Hurley Group, a GP-led organisation running several practices across south London, as a good example. It has six ‘local medical directors’ employed at its practices who are paid an enhanced salary to take part in practice decision making in the way that a partner might.

These employees can prog-ress to become a profit-sharing member of the group.

Dr Clare Gerada, medical director of The Hurley Group and RCGP vice chairman, said new partnership models were vital to protect the future of general practice.

‘We have to make sure there are leadership opportunities for the next generation. The old days are gone – you can’t slip straight into a vocational partnership any more.’

Londonwide LMCs is also developing services to help small practices form networks to avoid pressure from PCTs in London. Dr Drage said small practices were still being aggressively targeted by PCTs in London because they did not fit in with the move towards larger, networked clinics.

Dr Drage also expressed concern that NHS London’s plans for large ‘Tesco-Metro’ style health centres could undermine continuity of care. She said Londonwide LMCs did not oppose the ‘hub and spoke’ model of polyclinic, as long as the ‘hub’ does not consume investment from existing practices.

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5,000 people call in to new health centre

Posted on December 2, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Worcester News | David Paine | NHS Worcestershire | 2 December 2009

NEARLY 5,000 people have used a new walk-in health centre in Worcester since it opened in the summer.

There are also about 500 people registered at the centre in Farrier House, Farrier Street.

Paul Bates, chief executive of NHS Worcestershire, said a real cross-section of people were using the facilities and said the feedback had been good so far.

“The reports coming back from the public have been glowing,” he told a county health overview and scrutiny committee.

“The service is not under pressure yet, so it can provide a very good service.

“It’s pretty much the same experience across the country with walk-in centres. They are not taking people away from other surgeries and we are discovering a whole new cohort of presentations.”

Mr Bates said he visited the centre recently and saw a young mother, young men, an elderly man and a homeless man all in the waiting room.

We previously reported in your Worcester News how the new walk-in centre, which opened in August, is designed to improve access to healthcare in the city centre without patients having to book an appointment.

NHS Worcestershire – the organisation that manages the work of doctors, dentists and community hospitals – will pay GPs £1 million a year to run the service.

The organisation previously paid £750,000 for the building and refurbishment work for the new surgery, which is on the ground floor.

That money includes the cost of work to prepare the first floor to host future services, including sexual health workers, physiotherapy and dental care.

The centre means anyone can access GP appointments without having to be registered. The centre is run by Elgar Healthcare – a consortium of local GPs – who were announced as NHS Worcestershire’s preferred bidder in December 2008.

As well as providing all the usual GP services for Worcestershire people, the centre is also focusing on improving access to those who tend to access services poorly.

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Private provision of NHS services under threat

Posted on December 2, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, ISTC, News stories, Providers | Tags: , , , |

The Guardian | By Owen Bowcott | 2 December 2009

The government has reignited the political debate about private healthcare companies delivering NHS treatment.

Private companies could find they are not the preferred option for delivering NHS treatments. Photograph: Graham Turner

On a spotless hospital ward pensioners displaying fresh bandages were delighted their knees and hips had just been replaced by the NHS. The surgery had been as good as going private, they declared. Which was what, in fact, it was.

Their confusion was understandable. The sign at the door reads North East London NHS treatment centre. The unit may be based in the same complex as the local NHS King George hospital in Ilford, Essex, and free at the point of delivery, but it is an independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) – a commercial venture, with the surgery provided by private company Care UK.

The mix of private and public healthcare providers within the NHS means that it is hard to disentangle one sector from another. Senior consultants at the ISTC have contracts to work in both the adjoining hospital and the treatment centre; other staff are on loan from the NHS. No private patients are treated. Soon, medical students will be training in Care UK’s facilities.

Blairite triumph

The health market has been presented as a triumph of Blairite politics, enabling internal competition to spur on progress towards improved standards, say its supporters. The health secretary, Andy Burnham, this autumn endorsed that settlement, though, in almost the same breath, he inadvertently helped to destabilise it. “With quality at its core … the NHS can finally move beyond the polarising debates of the last decade over private or public sector provision,” he told health thinktank the King’s Fund – before adding: “Where I stand in this debate … is that the NHS is our preferred provider.”

Labour’s pronouncements since then on patients’ rights, and what is known as the “private patient cap” – the percentage of private treatments that hospitals are permitted to carry out – have set political compasses spinning. While the private/public divide has not been a significant battleground between Labour and the Conservatives in recent years, competitive tendering processes and residual ideological suspicions are now reviving the dormant row.

Burnham’s promise that the NHS should be the “preferred provider” has been interpreted by the private sector as a snub, and by health unions as a signal of Brownite support for traditional Labour values.

Few are clear what “preferred provider” means. The Department of Health attempted unsuccessfully last week to explain by asserting that: “Where existing NHS services are delivering a good standard of care for patients, there is no need to look to the market.” It then qualified the position, explaining that: “Where [NHS] primary care trusts are commissioning new services, then we expect them to engage with a range of potential providers before deciding whether to issue an open tender. These decisions will be made locally, and we will not choose to exclude either NHS or private providers on grounds of ideology – quality and what is best for patients must always come first. This could well mean more private provision, not less.”

Mike Parish, chief executive of Care UK, initially dismissed Burnham’s phrase as merely a political “rebalancing act”. Since then he has become more anxious about its impact. “People have taken that original good intention and presented it as something much more substantive,” he says. “Across primary care trusts there are people who are enthusiasts in terms of reform and others who are uncomfortable with any concept of plurality. This [statement] could take things in a direction that was never intended. There’s a risk of a runaway horse. We are already seeing tenders being issued for the redesign of services with the invitation going exclusively to NHS providers only. It not only constrains the options for PCTs and patients, it’s also certainly anti-competitive. I don’t know if it’s even permissible.”

Parish estimates that 6% of all NHS work is currently carried out by private firms including Spire Healthcare and UnitedHealth UK. Care UK runs a further nine ISTCs, urgent care centres in Luton, and healthcare services in Brixton prison. The company is considering bidding for what would be the first privately run NHS district general hospital at Hinchingbrooke in Huntingdon. Parish fears the “preferred provider” publicity will blight his chances. He is proud of the firm’s very high patient satisfaction rates and its clinical record in the NHS of no cases of MRSA infections.

Landmark battle

Care UK has, however, just lost one landmark battle. Awarded the tender to provide a GP-led health centre by Camden PCT in north London, it had to abandon the contract last month when anti-privatisation campaigners won a judgment in the high court that forced the trust to go back and ask the public whether the area actually needs a GP-led health centre.

The government’s decision to review the private patient cap – while instructing Labour peers to vote down a proposal raising the minimum permissible level of private work to at least 1.5% of treatments in all NHS foundation trusts – has also helped to reignite the issue of private sector involvement in the NHS.

Sue Slipman, director of the NHS Foundation Trust Network, says trusts want to raise the cap, not in order to treat private patients but “because they want to go into joint ventures to bring in money to their hospitals and support expansion of NHS provisions”.

Burnham’s announcement that in future patients will be legally entitled to free private care if not treated by the NHS within 18 weeks has added a further twist to the debate. The British Medical Association is concerned that this will lead to more NHS work going to private providers, with destabilising effects on hard-pressed NHS services.

Back at the North East London treatment centre, the relieved patients were not perturbed about the origins of their free NHS surgery. Instead, they were looking forward to going home quickly.

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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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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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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

Appointments can be made by:

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

Or

  • 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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Health clinics open in Eastbourne

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers, Social enterprise | Tags: , |

Bexhill-on-Sea Observer | Annemarie Field | NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald | 25 November 2009

TWO NEW clinics opened in Eastbourne this week.

A new state-of-the-art health centre at Eastbourne Railway Centre opened on Tuesday and offers a ‘walk in’ service to see a GP or nurse from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

And on Thursday the newly refurbished Eastbourne Dental Clinic in Terminus Buildings opened after a two month refit costing almost £500,000.

Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson was among those who were given a tour of the new walk in health centre which has taken the place of a former sports bar on the station concourse.

The walk in service will be open to everyone, regardless of whether they are registered with the health centre practice, or with another GP surgery, or not at all.

This will mean it can be used by tourists, other visitors to Eastbourne, people who work but do not live in the town, as well as people who are not registered with a GP for whatever reason.

South East Health Ltd (SEHL) will be running the centre and working closely with local GPs to ensure that the services offered by the new health centre are properly integrated into the local health care system and operate as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver the best outcomes for local people.

The MP also opened the Eastbourne Dental Clinic on Thursday afternoon.

The project is part of the effort by NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald to improve local NHS dental services by commissioning new and enhanced services.

The new look clinic now has three resident dentists using up to date facilities including three operating rooms and a decontamination room.

The practice will offer a wide range of NHS treatments, including hygienist appointments.

Senior Partner Dr Esmail Harunani said, “We want to give all our patients top quality treatment and we will welcome all new patients who want to be seen on the NHS.

“We have re-vamped our facilities and the services we offer and we are aiming to further build our reputation for giving people excellent care and service”.

The Eastbourne Dental Clinic will offer sessions to help people, especially children, prevent problems with their teeth such as decay and tooth loss.

Free oral health seminars will be on offer every month, open to all, and will cover why mouth and tooth care is so important for people of all ages, right from the very young to older people.

People who may have difficulty in getting NHS treatment are also encouraged to visit the practice, especially anyone who has not been seen by a dentist for the past two years.

The clinic’s dental team is specially trained in helping patients who are nervous or anxious.

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NHS Westminster – Update on GP Led Health Centre, Polysystems and Dental Practices

Posted on November 24, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Providers, Reports/papers | Tags: , |

NHS Westminster | Board Meeting | 24 November 2009 [pdf]

Introduction
Following the discussions at the last Board, this paper provides an update on key developments within primary and community care in Westminster.
Queens Park GP Led Health Centre Summary Update

Karen Clinton, Assistant Director, Primary Care Commissioning | 3 November 2009

Temporary solution

The GP Led Health Centre opened on 26 October 2009. The service is called Malling Health at Westminster. The practice is open for patients 8.00am – 8.00pm, 7 days a week, from temporary premises situated at Woodchester Square. The practice is adequately staffed with clinical and administrative personnel. NHS Westminster met the Department of Health target to open the GP Led Health Centre by 31 October 2009.

Permanent solution
  • Malling Health and their agents, GPI, have agreed the Heads of Terms (HoT) with Genesis Housing.
  • The rent has been agreed between NHS Westminster and GPI and the rental level is supported by the District Valuer.
  • The planning application for the permanent premises was submitted on 1 October 2009. The process will take 8 – 12 weeks in total. Taking into account the planning process and the work required to make the premises operational, the contractors have advised that the building will be ready for occupation in April 2010. A project plan for delivery of the permanent solution is in development.
  • Dr Thomas Reichhelm, Medical Director for Malling, has met with Dr Srikrishnamurthy, who is located directly opposite the Genesis building.
  • Progress is now being made by Malling Health to integrate into one of Westminster’s PBC clusters.

Significant Risks
  • The planning cycle for “change of use”, from retail to clinical, may take longer than the estimated 8 weeks and could impact upon the building work required to make the premises habitable.
  • The building work may hit unforeseen problems that could delay the opening in April 2010.

Polysystems Update

Simon Hope, Assistant Director, Strategic Commissioning | 3 November 2009

Context

The PCT is progressing development of 3 Polysystems across Westminster. Polysystem boundaries are broadly aligned with the 3 largest PbC clusters and design of Polysystem service models is being led by PbC clusters, supported by the Polysystem Programme Team.

Detail regarding development of each Polysystem is detailed below including the latest position in terms of cost and timescale for implementation:

South

The project is at implementation stage and work is underway to develop the South Westminster Centre, which is the identified system hub. A programme of minor refurbishment is due to begin, and discussions are underway with a range of service providers which will be commencing provision of new clinics in the Centre during the coming months. These include; Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), Dermatology, Musculoskeletal services and Diabetes.

A marketing and communications plan is being drafted to include engagement with key stakeholders including clinicians and local residents, regarding the further development of the polysystem.

Discussions with the Victoria Commissioning Collaborative Cluster, regarding arrangements for management of the Polysystem, associated resources and governance arrangements between the Polysystem and the PCT are at an advanced stage.

To date, there has been new investment in the Polysystem of £280,000, to fund minor refurbishment and IT infrastructure costs. Further significant investment will be required in order to facilitate extended hub opening hours, building management, and commissioning of an on-site Urgent Care Centre. Specific detail of costs will depend on the respective service models and procurement routes selected. Savings to be accrued from the Polysystem, linked to development of redesigned community-based services, are being calculated using the Commissioning Support for London (CSL) framework, which is being relaunched in November. Detail will be included in the next Board update.

Central

Following a workshop with the Central London Healthcare Cluster, a design report has been produced which highlights a significant range of areas where further work is required in order to finalise the service model.

The Cluster’s preference is for a largely federated system, with services provided in a range of locations and integration achieved via its planned Clinical Co-ordination Centre.

The major focus to date has been in relation to the model for commissioning community-based Urgent Care services. The model put forward by the Cluster proposes multiple practice-based sites, providing integrated planned and urgent care by current primary care providers, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The PCT is assessing the affordability of this option and whether it meets Healthcare for London requirements.

In addition to scoping the potential for development of a number of practice-based sites for urgent care provision, the project has PCT Management Team approval to work with Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH) to develop an integrated planned and urgent care service at the Soho Centre for Health, by integrating the PMS practice and the Walk-In service already commissioned there.

Work is ongoing to identify potential locations for other Polysystem services. The cluster is keen that, as far as possible, services are hosted by GP practices and is developing criteria which potential host sites will be required to meet.

An engagement process with local stakeholders is due to commence during November, the findings of which will be incorporated into the final service model which should be complete by February 2010. The timescale for implementation will be dependent on the model, as will the requisite investment and planned savings over time.

North West

Following a workshop with the Queens Park and Paddington Cluster, a design report has been produced which highlights a significant range of areas where further work is required in order to finalise the service model.

The Cluster’s proposal is for development of the Queens Park Medical Centre (QPMC) as a polysystem hub, working with the GPs in the centre to deliver an integrated model of planned and urgent care services. The Project Team is assessing the affordability of the urgent care element of this model, linked to the likely footfall of patients through the service and the close proximity of other urgent care services at the planned GP-led Health Centre on Harrow Road, and also at St Charles Hospital in NHS Kensington and Chelsea. If affordability and return on investment of the urgent care element of the model cannot be demonstrated, work to develop the QPMC as the hub will continue, with a range of other services being located there.

An engagement process with local stakeholders is due to commence during November, the findings of which will be incorporated into the final service model which should be complete by February 2010. The timescale for implementation will be dependent on the model, as will the requisite investment and planned savings over time.

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£11.8m deal sees health centre get new owner

Posted on November 23, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Manchester Evening News | 23 November 2009

A GREATER Manchester medical centre has changed hands as part of an £11.8m deal.

AH Medical Properties has bought Davyhulme Medical Centre, which opened earlier this year, from Sapphire Primary Care Developments, which was a subsidiary of Lloyds Pharmacy. AH also swooped for other properties in Rugeley, Staffordshire, Didcot, Oxfordshire, and Kincaidston, Ayr, as part of the same transaction.

It takes the gross value of AH Medical Properties’ portfolio to over £100m.

All four of the acquired sites were completed between 2007 and 2009 and are let to general practitioners.

Giles Weaver, chairman of AH Medical Properties, said: “This represents and excellent acquisition for AHMP of new, high quality properties.”

Meanwhile, Admenta Holdings, owner of Lloyds Pharmacy, has sold Sapphire to Ashley House, which has a 6.7 per cent stake in AH Medical Properties. Ashley House paid £6.8m plus the value of work in progress. Sapphire was established nine years ago as a developer of primary care premises and has been a rival to Ashley House.

LLOYDSPHARMACY SELLS HEALTH CENTRE BUSINESS AND GAINS STAKE IN FORMER RIVAL

Chemist + Druggist | Jennifer Richardson | 23 November 2009

Lloydspharmacy has sold its health centre business to a former rival primary care developer.

The multiple sold Sapphire Primary Care Developments (SPCD) to Ashley House for £6.8 million, it announced today (November 23).

In doing so, Lloydspharmacy has acquired a 10 per cent stake in Ashley House, giving it preferential access to future opportunities to develop health centre pharmacies.

Prior to Lloydspharmacy’s sale of SPCD, property investment company AH Medical Properties bought four completed medical centres with integrated Lloydspharmacy pharmacies from the company for £11.8m.

New SPCD owner Ashley House is the asset manager for AH Medical Properties.

The deal with Ashley House freed up “significant working capital”, Lloydspharmacy managing director Richard Smith said.

He added: “Having a strategic partnership with such a respected developer in the market will provide excellent opportunities for Lloydspharmacy while allowing us to concentrate on our core business.”

Ashley House chief executive Jonathan Holmes said its deal with Lloydspharmacy played to both companies’ strengths.

Lloydspharmacy finance director Andrew Willetts has joined the Ashley House board as non-executive director.

The multiple established SPCD in 2000.

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NHS services will be a social enterprise

Posted on November 17, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers, Social enterprise | Tags: , |

Third Sector | By David Ainsworth | Kingston PCT | 17 November 2009

Kingston Primary Care Trust to launch separate provider

A major social enterprise will be created before the end of the year out of a south-west London NHS trust, as part of a drive to change how the NHS is structured.

Kingston Primary Care Trust said it expected to launch a separate provider arm called Your Healthcare, with a turnover of £25m and a staff of 500 nurses, therapists and support staff. These will be transferred from the PCT as soon as it receives permission from NHS London, the capital’s strategic health authority.

Your Healthcare will become an independent social enterprise providing a wide range of services, said a spokeswoman for Kingston PCT.

The PCT’s remaining 100 employees will continue to work for the trust on more strategic functions.

“The organisation is already operating with a shadow board, awaiting formal confirmation of the new structure,” she said. “We’ve been working towards this since last July and we’re expecting final sign-off this year.”

Hull PCT has also announced plans to make its provider arm into a community interest company, known as Hull City Health Care Partnership, but it has been delayed by a legal challenge from a patient, who is seeking a judicial review of the decision.

Both decisions were taken in response to a Department of Health decision that PCTs should separate their commissioning and provider arms.

Mark Johnson, managing director of TPP Law, which specialises in social enterprise development, said progress had been less positive in other PCTs. “Many people who would like to develop social enterprises feel they lack support from PCT boards,” he said.

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