Loophole in APMS contracts threatens primary care stability, enquiry warns

Posted on June 28, 2012. Filed under: Closure | Tags: , |

GP Online | By Marina Soteriou, 27 June 2012

A serious loophole in APMS contracts allows GP practices to become a ‘commodity traded in the private market’, an enquiry into the closure of a London practice run by a private company has found.

Camden Council’s Health Scrutiny Panel of Enquiry report into the closure of the Camden Road Surgery in north London, due to be discussed at a council meeting tonight, is urging the NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) to take ‘prompt action’ to prevent a repeat of the incident.

The panel hit out at private companies involved in running the surgery for failing to provide evidence to the enquiry, and called for greater transparency on deals with private firms involved in running NHS services.

Private healthcare firm United Health won a five-year contract to run the Camden Road Surgery in 2008, but then transferred the contract to another provider, The Practice plc, in April 2011.

A year later, in April 2012, the surgery was shut down when its premises lease ran out, forcing its 4,700 patients to register elsewhere.

The report reads: ‘There appears to be a serious loophole in the national contract for alternative providers, which allowed United Health to transfer the contract.

‘The panel were of the view that this was a serious loophole. In our view, primary care by GPs should not be a commodity traded in the private market and prompt action should be taken by the NHS Commissioning Board, which will be responsible for commissioning primary care, to remedy this.’

Minimise use of locums
The panel said it would welcome further discussions with NHS North Central London and with the NCB on how contract specifications can best ensure continuity of care and to minimise the use of locums.

Its report reads: ‘Contracts should promote the long-term commitment to continuity of GP care, to counter the concerns expressed in evidence that large private providers have less commitment to a local population.’

The enquiry said it welcomed the prospect that from next April councils’ health and scrutiny committees will have enhanced power to require private health providers and GP practices to go before them.

It said: ‘A regrettable aspect of this enquiry was the failure of United Health or The Practice to provide any evidence whatsoever.

‘We welcome the decision of the Information Commissioner’s Office to order Camden PCT to disclose details of the contract with United Health, including the pricing, and believe further consideration needs to be given by the NHS Commissioning Board to the transparency of contractual arrangements as the market for alternative providers increases.

‘The Panel were concerned that there does not appear to be an open and transparent protocol for monitoring performance in primary care, which is understood by the public and public agencies.’

The report added: ‘In the absence of any evidence to the contrary we have no reason not to believe that the reason for United Health UK’s decision [to transfer the Camden Road contract to The Practice plc] was their desire to concentrate on providing services to the GP commissioner consortia being set up under the National Health and Social Care Act 2012.’

Spokespeople for the United Health UK and the Practice plc were unavailable to comment.

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Company pulls out of surgery

Posted on June 27, 2012. Filed under: Closure | Tags: |

Leicester Mercury | 27 June 2012

A private company is pulling out of running a city GP surgery after protests from patients about poor service.

The Practice plc made the announcement as patients threatened to demonstrate outside the Brandon Street surgery, in Belgrave, and take their protest to local health bosses.

They said they were fed up that nothing was being done to sort out a catalogue of problems at the surgery, which moved from Cross Street, in Belgrave, to the newly-built Belgrave Health Centre, in Brandon Street, last year. Problems included concerns over the number of locum doctors being used, as well as difficulties getting through on the telephone and in getting an appointment after The Practice plc took over the running of the surgery in 2010.

It was part of a £5 million deal to run this and three other city surgeries for five years.

Ved Dhiman, chairman of the patients’ participation group at the surgery, said: “We were promised services would get better but the surgery has been run by locum doctors and patients have had constant problems in getting medication.

“We kept asking the primary care trust (PCT), NHS Leicester City, to do something about it and had meetings with The Practice, but nothing much changed. We were getting so fed up we were planning to demonstrate outside the surgery to let people know about our frustrations.”

The group was also planning to publicly demonstrate outside the PCT headquarters in Enderby.

However, on Monday evening bosses at The Practice said they were pulling out.

Dr Jeremy Rose, clinical director of The Practice plc, said: “We have had great difficulty in recruiting permanent GPs to maintain continuity of care for this group of patients – something that is very important to us.

“It is with regret that, by mutual agreement with the PCT, we have decided to release this contract for re-tender.”

The Practice will carry on providing services for the 4,800 patients registered at the surgery until the end of the year.

Mr Dhiman said: “I am very pleased this company is leaving and the patient participation group is sorry it has taken so long for people to listen to our complaints.”

Professor Azhar Farooqi, a city GP and chairman of the Leicester City clinical commissioning group, which will take on responsibility for providing health care in April, said: “Although we are not responsible for the contract, the most important thing for us is patients experience continuity of care.”

Lesley Harrison, associate director for primary care contracting at the PCT, said health bosses would be talking to patients to make sure a suitable provider is found.

Zuffar Haq, a spokesman for the Leicester Mercury Patients’ Panel, said: “It is about time the PCT got its act together for the people in this area. Things need to change.”

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Private firm closes flagship GP practice in north London

Posted on February 7, 2012. Filed under: Closure | Tags: |

Exclusive: GP practices in north London have been told they must absorb 4,700 patients in the next two months after the leading private health provider The Practice Plc announced it will close a high-profile GP practice less than a year after taking over the service.

The Camden Road Surgery – a long-standing GP practice which has been at the centre of the NHS privatisation debate ever since it was taken over by US health giant UnitedHealth in 2008 – will close its doors in April, with plans in place for a ‘mutual termination’ of its APMS contract with NHS North Central London.

NHS managers said the decision to close the surgery, which was broken to GPs on Friday, was forced by a decision by the surgery’s landlord to refuse an extension for the premises lease beyond April.

The Practice’s contract to run the surgery had been due to expire in March 2013, but NHS North Central London said that the early ‘mutual termination’ of the contract would not involve any compensation payouts to the private provider.

In recent years the Camden Road Surgery has been at the centre of controversy over the private sector’s role in general practice. The Practice Plc took on ownership of the practice last April after taking over the contract from UnitedHealth. The decision to award the original APMS contract to UnitedHealth in 2008 attracted vehement opposition from anti-privatisation campaigners, after NHS managers snubbed rival bids by local GPs to run the surgery despite them being judged to offer superior core services.

LMC leaders and leading GPs warned that the move to close Camden Road surgery at such short notice would be ‘hugely disruptive’ to patients and GPs.

Dr Paddy Glackin, medical director at Londonwide LMCs and a GP in Islington, North London, said: ‘The patients, who have had long-term relationships and have come to depend on a practice despite all the changes in management, are now going to have their practice taken away from them without having even been asked. We would like to have seen a meaningful consultation with patients and looking at actual alternatives to closing the practice down and dispersing the patients.’

‘They should look at some potential solution generated by the GPs and the patients, rather than this which has been imposed on them from without.’

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘This is hugely disruptive for patients. They had the new provider not long ago, and before that UnitedHealth. The patients themselves need to feel that they have a GP who is there to look after them and that they trust. For the last year we’ve focused so much on GPs as a commissioner but we have to remember that GPs as providers is our most important role.’

NHS North Central London said it will be contacting local GPs to see how many patients they can take on and will be consulting with patients who will be given the option of choosing a new surgery or being allocated to a new practice.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are absolutely confident that there is capacity in the system for other Camden GPs to take on these patients.  We are in the process of contacting them to discuss how many they can take at which practice and this will depend to some extent on the outcome of the allocation/dispersal consultation we are undertaking.’

A spokesperson for The Practice said: ‘It is with regret that The Practice can confirm that it is currently in the process of closing its surgery on Camden Road.’

‘The lease on the property expires in April and although the PCT and The Practice have both worked tirelessly to negotiate an extension to this lease, unfortunately the landlord has decided not to grant an extension . Working with the PCT we are currently in consultation with our patients in order to ensure they will continue to be looked after within the area once the surgery has closed. We remain at all times committed to our patients and their best interests and will do our very best to ensure a smooth transition.’

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UnitedHealth quits primary care and sells off surgeries to The Practice

Posted on April 20, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Pulse – UnitedHealth quits primary care and sells off surgeries to The Practice.

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Private firms to launch legal challenge over scrapping of Darzi centres

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: GP-led health centres | Tags: , |

Pulse – Private firms to launch legal challenge over scrapping of Darzi centres.

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ChilversMcCrea and The Practice join forces

Posted on November 24, 2010. Filed under: Providers | Tags: , |

ChilversMcCrea website

Leading healthcare provider, The Practice, announces expansion news which will bolster its already extensive network of GP surgeries and walk-in centres. As of 19 November 2010, Chilvers & McCrea Ltd (Surgery business) became part of The Practice group. Combined, the group will now provide care to over 150,000 NHS patients registered in England and Wales through 50 surgeries, seven of which are walk-in centres.

With the forthcoming changes in NHS primary care in mind, Dr Sarah Chilvers and Dr Rory McCrea, the founders of Chilvers & McCrea Ltd, felt that by bringing the company under the umbrella of The Practice, it would benefit from the financial security and wider range of options for patient care which a larger organisation has to offer. It is strongly believed that this move will benefit all patients, stakeholders and surgery staff alike.

Peter Watts, Chief Executive for The Practice, says: “As a result of the White Paper ‘Liberating the NHS’, it is clear that providers of primary care need to be more cohesive in how they deliver care to patients. It is my belief that in order to be a fit for purpose organisation, we need to create a health eco-system with a scale and complexity that small localised organisations alone cannot achieve.”

Watts continued, “Sarah, Rory and I have frequently discussed the positive opportunities in providing primary healthcare as a combined organisation on behalf of the NHS. Over the years we have continued to identify the strong synergy between our respective organisations and with a radical shake-up of the NHS imminent, we feel that now is the right time to effect the integration necessary to realise this shared vision.”

Rory added: “We will be working closely with The Practice during the coming months to ensure the successful integration of the two organisations and the continued high quality of care for patients. Sarah and I will be stepping down from the day to day running of the business but are excited by the prospect of being able to focus on a number of strategic projects and healthcare initiatives for the group. Additionally we are continuing to offer our expertise to other healthcare and NHS bodies through ChilversMcCrea Healthcare”.

Notes to editors

The Practice is a primary care organisation, headquartered in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. It provides healthcare in the community as well as into secure environments such as prisons and detention centres.

The Practice was founded five years ago by GPs. It boasts a unique blend of clinical and commercial experience in that it combines best practice healthcare management with strong financial control and business acumen.

ChilversMcCrea Healthcare will continue as a Healthcare Provider in its own right. Chilvers and McCrea Ltd is the legal entity which holds the primary care medical services contracts (Surgeries). http://www.thepracticeplc.com

Contact

Imogen Erskine, The SPA Way (on behalf of The Practice), on: 020 7403 6900, email: imogen.erskine@thespaway.com orjessica.dixon@thespaway.com

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Conservatives urged to step up role of polyclinics and private sector

Posted on January 29, 2010. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics, Providers | Tags: |

Pulse | By Steve Nowottny | 29 January 2010

The founder of a private provider running a series of GP practices across the country has issued a public plea to the Conservative party to maintain the ‘momentum’ of the polyclinic rollout if they win the general election.

Dr Jeremy Rose, clinical director and founder GP of The Practice, which currently runs nine GP practices and four GP-led health centres, and plans to open a further four shortly, also urged the Conservatives to bring in more private providers to help drive up health outcomes.

Writing in the Times, Dr Rose argued that polyclinics had helped shift care to the community and improve patient choice.

‘With a change in government and policy, momentum will inevitably be lost,’ he wrote. ‘Many of the reforms in the manifesto are not new, but combined and introduced in a sustained way, they could effect change in the NHS.’

‘Facilitated by the polyclinic concept with an array of GP services, outpatient clinics, health information and so on in one place, the number of clinicians a patient needs to see and the number of clinics they attend is reduced, thus speeding up the process.’

He added: ‘As the NHS has evolved over recent years the presence of independent organisations has increased and a notion of payment by results is becoming more widely accepted. At the core is a drive for clinicians to achieve the best health outcomes for everyone, wherever they live.’

‘The possibility of more independent providers could be a catalyst for just this.’

Pulse reported earlier this month that the Conservatives have opened up talks with a series of private providers after pledging to step up the role of the independent sector in the NHS. The party said talks were ongoing with ‘a wide range’ of providers from the private and voluntary sectors.

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Private providers to cover GP extended hours

Posted on January 28, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Gareth Iacobucci | 28 January 2010

Private firms will be able to cover extended-hours shifts for practices that do not to provide the service, under the next stage of the Government’s controversial drive to widen access to primary care.

Neighbouring practices could also take on the shifts, in a move the GPC has denounced as ‘a terrific recipe for fragmenting care’.

A letter sent to PCTs and SHAs by Gary Belfield, DH head of primary care, sets out how the Government plans to implement prime minister Gordon Brown’s pledge that all patients would have access to evening and weekend appointments.

The letter, providing details on the extension of the extended hours DES for 2010/11, makes clear that practices will not be forced to offer extended opening themselves, but that other providers will be drafted in where a practice does not.

It says: ‘A key priority is to seek to provide access to evening/weekend appointments for patients whose practices are not providing extended opening, for instance by asking other practices to provide this services, or by commissioning out-of-hours providers to offer bookable appointment slots for routine care.’

One firm, the Practice PLC, which has won a string of GP-led health centre contracts, has already indicated its willingness to take on extended-hours shifts.

Dr Jeremy Rose, clinical director and founder GP of The Practice, said: ‘The Government’s proposal is something we support and is a principle already being delivered at GP-led health centres to non-registered patients. The traditional view patients value continuity of care more than convenience is becoming questionable.’

Latest figures show around 77% of practices offering extended hours, but the Government wants access for all patients and has agreed PCTs should plough £161m into commissioning extended opening 2010/11 under the updated DES.

But GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman attacked the proposal, calling it ‘an aggressive act against general practice’.

‘Patients will be baffled by this, practices will be angered by it,’ he said. ‘It’s deliberately designed to antagonise practices who are not offering extended hours, and I’m not sure it will improve the care of those patients either.’

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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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Heart Of Hounslow Is A Big Hit, Local Residents Give Polyclinic Thumbs up

Posted on October 28, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics, Providers | Tags: |

The Gov Monitor | Source: NHS Hounslow | 28 October 2009

The Heart of Hounslow has been a big hit with local residents in its first six months as a polyclinic.

Over 11,000 people have used the walk-in service (known as The Practice Heart of Hounslow, open 8am to 8pm every day of the year) and over 2,000 patients have chosen to register at the new GP practice.

This demonstrates its value to local residents by providing convenient and accessible high-quality services.

Polyclinics deliver a one-stop-shop approach to healthcare by making it possible to access a wide range of services in one centre. New services at the Heart of Hounslow include access to cardiology services and a range of diagnostic tests and treatments, usually only available within a hospital setting, since September 2009. The range of services at The Heart of Hounslow polyclinic continues to expand:

  • patients will be able to access onsite x-ray, ultrasound and mammography services, usually only available within a hospital setting, in February 2010. It will be possible for patients to have their scans within the hours of GP referral for x-ray and ultrasound
  • healthy food café and advice will shortly be available in the new Health Zone. The new Crussh café will specialise in fresh juice, smoothies and healthy eating

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NHS Hounslow Chief Executive Nick Relph says “Polyclinics are designed to make it easier for people to receive better health and social care where and when they need it. The walk-in service complements the GP care that already exists in Hounslow by giving patients additional access to care at times when surgeries maybe closed or difficult to get to. As well as this, we have made it easier for people to get an appointment with a GP when they want one — most of our GPs open for longer earlier in the morning, later in the evening and on Saturday mornings.”

Nick added “We know a lot of people go to A&E with problems that aren’t life threatening or are worried about their health. Often it’s because people aren’t sure where the best place to go is or because other services are closed. Offering routine access to a GP for 12 hours every day of the year at a town centre location should reduce the need for patients to use hospital accident and emergency departments. Patients do not need to register to use a walk-in centre at The Heart of Hounslow polyclinic and no appointment is needed.”

Dr Michael Tsamis, GP at The Practice Heart of Hounslow walk-in centre says “I have been a GP since its opening and I have been pleasantly surprised by the large numbers of patients that use our service. Clearly they have had positive experiences as many of them subsequently decide to join our surgery list.”

Dr Tsamis added “I have treated patients with a wide variety of acute and chronic clinical conditions such as chest and urinary infections, asthma, hypertension and diabetes. These patients would have either had to face a potentially very long wait in a crowded A&E department or wait unnecessarily to access the services from their own doctor.”

NHS Hounslow is responsible for the health of over 250,000 people living in Bedfont, Brentford, Chiswick, Feltham, Hanworth, Heston, Hounslow and Isleworth. We plan, deliver and purchase a range of care and treatment to meet local health needs.

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We use NHS money to make a difference to

  • decide how NHS funds are spent locally
  • arrange for healthcare in hospitals, in community and by GPs and dentists
  • ensure there are healthcare options and choices for patients
  • improve the standard of healthcare
  • advise and help local people on staying healthy

More www.hounslowpct.nhs.uk or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/NHShounslow

Services at The Heart of Hounslow polyclinic includes: four GP surgeries; one walk-in centre for minor illnesses and injuries; community services (that includes district nursing, midwifery); diagnostics; out patient services; well being and support.  In addition to these services, The Heart of Hounslow also offers stop smoking support and sexual health services.

The GP walk-in centre operates seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, including bank holidays. Any member of the public can walk in and see a doctor. They don’t need to be registered with the centre and can remain registered with their own local GP practice as well seeing a GP at The Heart of Hounslow walk-in centre, if it is more convenient.

Walk-in centres offer fast access to health advice and treatment. Some examples of conditions that may be treated include: cuts that need stitching or dressing, sprains and strains of muscles and joints, minor bone fractures – such as broken ankles or wrists, superficial burns, removal of foreign bodies, skin complaints such as rashes and bites and stings.

The Heart of Hounslow can be found on 92 Bath Road Hounslow TW3 3LN.

Hounslow’s new polyclinic gets the thumbs up with residents, after just one month

The Practice | News | 2 June 2009

The Heart of Hounslow has been a major success in its first month open as a polyclinic, with1,333 patients using the 8am-8pm walk-in service.

People can use the walk-in service even if they have not registered with a GP; they can call and ask for an appointment on 020 8104 0810 or walk in and ask for an appointment. For continuity of care we recommend that patients register with a GP.

A number of extra services were added to the existing The Heart of Hounslow to make it a polyclinic. For example, a walk-in service is open 8am-8pm every 365 days a year including weekends – for registered and unregistered patients – so everyone has the opportunity to see a GP at a time which is convenient to them. Ideally, people should see their own GP, but this gives another option for where, when and how they are treated.

NHS Hounslow’s Chief Executive Nick Relph said: “We are very pleased to see how popular this new service has been to provide local people with a new, improved choice for receiving health care.”

Nick added: “Offering routine access to a GP for 12 hours every day of the year at a town centre location aims to reduce the need for patients to use hospital accident and emergency facilities, for illnesses they would normally see their GP for. It complements the GP care that already exists in Hounslow by giving patients additional access to care at times when surgeries maybe closed or difficult to get to.”

Commenting on the walk-in service, local patient Mrs Khan said: “My mother-in-law recommended this service to me as my small children always seem to be ill on a Friday. These services give me great peace of mind that I can get a doctor to see them quickly and easily.”

The local pharmacy, located near the polyclinic at 106 Staines Road, is open now from 8am- 8.30pm, seven days a week, allowing patients to get their prescriptions at a time convenient to them. Herbert & Herbert pharmacist and co-owner Mr Sagar Patel said the increased number of patients they have served in the last month have told them that it is very convenient in having a pharmacy open till later hours that match the opening hours of Heart of Hounslow polyclinic.

Mr Patel said: “They also say it is good that they can pick up their prescription straightaway from us after seeing the health professionals there; especially in urgent cases when they need painkillers or antibiotics, for example.”

The Walk-in services at Heart of Hounslow polyclinic are provided by The Practice plc. The Practice is a primary care company providing innovative community based healthcare for the NHS. Founded in 2005 by two GPs they are one of the UK’s leading providers of primary care services.

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

 

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Resort’s new health centre is proving the perfect tonic

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

Dorset Echo | News | 28 August 2009

HEALTH bosses claim that the new Weymouth Community Health Centre has proved ‘highly popular’ with patients.

Staff at the privately-run unit have treated 1,000 people in the first three weeks of operation in Melcombe Avenue.

Some GPs were concerned that the centre would threaten local doctors’ surgeries when plans were first announced, but the concerns died down after it opened.

Centre operations manager Tania Shorten said: “We are seeing a real mix of treatment requests ranging from specialist bandaging, lost or forgotten medication, eye complaints, chest infections, babies with high temperatures and urine infections.

“We have recently received a thank-you card from a patient who said: ‘I just wanted to say how impressed I was with my treatment when I had cause to visit – everything seemed to go smoothly and efficiently and the staff were most helpful. I am sure the new centre will be a great success.’”

The centre is operated on behalf of the NHS by The Practice plc, a private company, for NHS patients.

The centre is based in Weymouth Community Hospital and staffed by GPs.

Patients can walk in without appointments 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm. It is open to local residents and visitors.

It offers a range of services, including health information, advice and treatment for a range of minor illnesses.

These can include minor skin infections, rashes, minor eye conditions, infections, stomach upsets, coughs and cold and other common illness.

Other conditions GPs and nurses at the centre handle include asthma, wound dressing, mental health problems, alcohol and drug problems and immunisation programmes.

People can also receive emergency contraception and advice.

The NHS walk-in centres have been introduced to help people with busy lifestyles needing access to flexible and convenient health services, and those who are temporary residents or visitors to the area.

NHS Dorset chairman Jacqueline Swift said: “I am delighted that the Weymouth Community Health Centre has got off to such a flying start.

“It is providing an invaluable and convenient service to the many thousands of people who visit Weymouth during the summer as well as seasonal workers and others who may not have a permanent address.

“It will certainly help to ease the pressure on local NHS services during the Olympics in 2012.”

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‘The Practice’ selected to provide new GP Service

Posted on July 8, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

The Practice | News | NHS South East Essex | 8 July 2009

NHS South East Essex is pleased to announce that ‘The Practice’ has been selected as the new provider of GP services for patients, at the Rochford and Hawkwell Practice.

Chair of NHS South East Essex, Katherine Kirk, said “We are delighted with the selection of The Practice, as new service providers at Rochford and Hawkwell Practice. Work can now begin to develop and enhance services, to ensure they meet local patient needs, supported by the established patient group, who were closely involved in the tendering and procurement process.”

‘The Practice’ is a provider with a wealth of experience in the provision of health care and more specifically, they have a successful five year track record in running GP and other community healthcare services.

Their innovative, flexible and responsive approach to the provision of good quality healthcare; coupled with strong management skills and the ability to tailor services to meet local patient needs, has clearly supported their selection.

“We are very pleased to be providing the services at Rochford and Hawkwell Practice” commented Debbie Raven, COO at The Practice. “We are looking forward to working with the existing team to ensure continuity for patients but also use our experience to develop the services on offer”.

A representative from the patient group was closely involved in the process to find and select a new provider.

Patients from Rochford and Hawkwell practice are pleased to have this experienced provider running their new GP service and Ken Berry, a patient at the practice, said “I feel assured we have now found a provider (in The Practice) who will deliver the services we need. This has been a long process, but I am sure we now have a solid foundation to enable us to continue providing the best medical care for our community.”

This message was echoed by the Chair of the Patient Group, Lorraine Holditch, who commented “We are delighted that we will continue to have a practice delivering services for the patients of Hawkwell and Rochford. I am confident that the new provider will deliver a first class service for us and will build on the excellent legacy left us, by Dr Sen.”

Chair of NHS South East Essex, Katherine Kirk, added “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the patient representative for their valued involvement in the selection process and also wish to thank the wider patient group, for the commitment, dedication and the support they have given, over the past two years.”

NHS South East Essex is the public name for South East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT). It is one of 152 Primary Care Trusts in England and Wales. It manages its allocated NHS healthcare budget for its local population.It is responsible for the health and well being of over 343,000 local residents and has a 100 square mile geographical area across the areas of Castle Point, Rochford and Southend-on-Sea.

NHS South East Essex commissions (purchases) a range of health services for its local population. The organisation has over 800 employees including community nurses; specialist nurses; speech language therapists; podiatrists; health visitors; and occupational therapists. The organisation is responsible for funding GPs; medical prescriptions; dental services; optical services; mental health; and community based services and it commissions (purchases) health care for local residents from NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and the private sector.

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

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Weymouth Walk-in centre opens

Posted on July 8, 2009. Filed under: Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: , |

The Practice | News | NHS Dorset | 8 July 2009

The new Weymouth Community Health Centre will open to patients at 8am on Monday, July 13.

The walk-in centre, based in Weymouth Community Hospital and run by GPs, offers a range of services, including health information, advice and treatment for a range of minor illnesses. It will be open every day of the year from 8am to 8pm.

It can be used by anyone, whether registered with another practice or not, and there is no need to make an appointment.

NHS walk-in centres have been introduced to help people with busy lifestyles needing access to flexible and convenient health services, and those who are temporary residents or visitors to the area.

The centre is adjacent to the existing Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in the hospital, which is open from 8am to 10pm every day. It does not replace your own GP, MIU or hospital services, but offers everyone the opportunity to see a GP at a time which is most convenient to them. Opening for 12 hours every day, including weekends, it is hoped that the new walk-in centre will help to reduce the pressure on Dorset County Hospital’s A&E department.

Both the MIU and walk-in centre operate on a first-come, first-served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention, in which case they will be seen straight away. Each service will have its own receptionist.

For minor ailments and illnesses patients should go to the walk-in centre receptionist. Examples of what will be seen at the walk-in centre include: minor illnesses, emergency contraception and advice; minor skin infections / rashes; minor eye conditions / infections, stomach upsets, coughs and colds; other common illness; asthma; wound dressing; mental health problems; alcohol & drug problems and immunisation programmes.

For minor injuries patients should go to the MIU receptionist.

For example, people with minor head injuries, wounds, strains, cuts and bruises, minor burns, bites and stings and eye injuries or needing emergency contraception (the morning after pill) will be seen at the MIU.

This walk-in centre is run on behalf of NHS Dorset by The Practice plc, a leading independent provider of healthcare services.

Jacqueline Swift, Chair of NHS Dorset, said: “The opening of this new service will be of benefit to both residents of Weymouth as well as people who do not have a permanent address.

“It will provide an invaluable service to the thousands of visitors who come to the town. In particular, it will help to ease the pressures on the local NHS before and during the Olympics.

“The centre will provide a convenient, flexible service that complements the excellent existing primary care services in the area.”

An official opening ceremony will be held in the autumn.

A handy booklet about the new walk-in centre is being distributed to households in the area during July. Anyone who does not receive a copy by the end of the month can contact NHS Dorset’s communications department on 01305 361219 or email: communications@dorset-pct.nhs.uk.

NHS Dorset is the local leader and first point of contact for NHS services in Dorset. It has a provider arm and a commissioning arm. The provider arm – Dorset Community Health Services – is responsible for community nursing, community hospitals and mental health services. The commissioning arm commissions services from healthcare providers, including GPs, dentists, pharmacies and optometrists, as well as all acute hospitals in the area.

For more information, log on to the website: www.dorset-pct.nhs.uk

The Walk-in services at Weymouth Community Health Centre are provided by The Practice plc.

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

Contract awarded to run new Weymouth Health Centre

The Practice Plc | News | 5 January 2009

The contract to run a new walk-in health centre for Weymouth has been awarded to The Practice plc following a competitive tendering process.

The Practice is a primary care company providing innovative community-based healthcare for the NHS. Founded in 2005 by two GPs it is one of the UK’s leading providers of primary care services.

The Practice delivers clinical services for GPs, the Ministry of Defence and primary care trusts including sexual health, dermatology, urgent care, out-of-hours leadership and hospital admission avoidance as well as providing primary care in secure settings such as prisons. With a headquarters in Little Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, The Practice also operates a growing network of surgeries, delivering effective infrastructure which allows GPs to concentrate on their core skill of practising medicine.

The Weymouth contract was awarded following a competitive tendering process advertised both locally and nationally. The new centre is to be based at Weymouth Community Hospital and will give patients access to high-quality primary medical care seven days a week, complementing existing services provided by local GPs. It will open in the summer of 2009 and will:

  • offer the normal range of GP services
  • work closely with other local health services
  • be easily accessible
  • be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week
  • offer both walk-in services and appointments that can be booked ahead
  • enable patients to register with the centre, but also offer services to patients who are not registered

 

Andrew Morris, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Dorset, said: ‘The project is part of a national Government initiative requiring every primary care trust (PCT) in the country to provide a walk-in health centre in its area.

‘NHS Dorset’s decision to locate the centre in Weymouth will help it meet several specific needs.

‘Weymouth is the largest town for which the PCT is responsible and would most benefit from a “walk-in” facility.

‘The centre will help improve access to primary care for a range of people such as those in temporary accommodation, migrant and temporary workers (including those associated with the tourist industry), asylum seekers and homeless people. By offering a walk-in service, it will reduce the impact of tourists and visitors on primary care services for our local people, especially before and during the Olympics.’

Mr Morris said that the centre will also contribute to preventing unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital in Dorchester by helping to deliver a new range of services already planned at Weymouth Community Hospital. These are being designed to provide safe and effective assessment and care closer to home.

He added: ‘This is an exciting development for the town which will help local residents and visitors alike to access primary care more easily and will complement the excellent services already provided by our GP surgeries.

‘We look forward to working with The Practice to enhance the existing primary care services in Weymouth.’

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 Weymouth to ensure full integration of services. Working together will be key to the success of this project.’

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

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1000 visits to new Crown Health Centre, Haverhill in first month

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

The Practice | News | NHS Suffolk | 6 July 2009

The newly opened Crown Health Centre, Haverhill has attracted 1000 visits in its first month. Over a quarter of these were on a weekend.

The health centre is open to registered and non-registered patients and offers appointments alongside a walk-in service to people in Haverhill and the surrounding areas. The centre is open 8am until 8pm, 365 days a year and offers everyone the opportunity to see a GP at a time which is convenient to them. Opening for 12 hours every day including weekends, has reduced the need for patients to travel to A&E facilities at Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich for illnesses and injuries they would normally see their GP for.

“The response from local residents has been overwhelming and feedback incredibly positive” commented Nigel Dransfield, Practice Manager at the health centre. “People can use the walk-in service without being registered with a GP here, the numbers speak for themselves – patients clearly appreciate the greater convenience and peace of mind a walk in service gives them”.

Appointments can be booked for registered and non-registered patients by telephoning the health centre on 01440 282000. Alternatively walk in and ask for an appointment.

The Health Centre was opened on 3rd June 2009 by Richard Spring, MP for West Suffolk and Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of NHS Suffolk.

For further information on this news item please contactSarah Jeffery on 01494 690930

NHS Suffolk selects The Practice plc to deliver their GP led health centre

The Practice | News | NHS Suffolk | 5 January 2009

NHS Suffolk can now announce who will be running the new GP-led health centre in Haverhill, Suffolk – due to open in April 2009

The successful bidder is The Practice plc (The Practice), an established primary care provider of innovative community-based healthcare for the NHS. Founded in 2005 by two GPs, it has a track record in running successful GP practices and primary care services.

The new Crown Health Centre will open seven days a week between 8am and 8pm. It will cater for both registered and non-registered patients from Haverhill and the surrounding area and will offer appointments alongside a walk-in service. Patients will be able to access a wide range of services at the centre, including minor injuries and blood testing, along with clinics for substance and alcohol misuse, weight management, smoking, sexual health, contraceptives and childhood obesity.

The Practice is not new to the area and currently provides GP services to two Suffolk prisons. Debbie Raven, chief operating officer at The Practice, said: “We will continue to work in close partnership with the Haverhill GPs to ensure full integration of the new centre with existing services in the area. Working with the healthcare community rather than in competition will be key to the success of this project. We have established a project board, and we’re delighted that Dr Andrew Cornish, a GP in the area, will become our local medical director.”

Martin Royal, director of business development at NHS Suffolk added: “This will be an excellent healthcare facility for the people of Haverhill and the surrounding area. We’re very pleased by this development – it’s the result of an intense period of working closely with St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the local community.”

The first services will be introduced from 1 April 2009 and will be located in temporary facilities on Withersfield Road, Haverhill. Planning is underway to secure a permanent home for the services, which could involve a purpose-built centre or refurbished facility located centrally in Haverhill.

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

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New health centre opens in High Wycombe

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

The Practice | Buckinghamshire PCT | News | 29 May 2009

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

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

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

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

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

t. 01494 534143
f. 01494 526345

Click here for further information on The Practice Hanover House.

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

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New GP practice opens its doors in Feltham today

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

The Practice | NHS Hounslow | News | 5 May 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • calling free phone 0800 953 0676
  • email at pals@hounslowpct.nhs.uk

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

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    The Practice plc expands with a new surgery in West London

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

    The Practice | Hillingdon PCT | News | 21 April 2009

    The Practice plc, through its associated company The Practice Surgeries Ltd, has further expanded its growing network of GP practices with a new surgery in West London. Yeading Lane Medical Centre in Hillingdon adds to the company’s existing local presence and comes on board as at a stage in its development where partnering with The Practice will bring significant opportunity for growth and business improvement. The Practice takes over the management from Chilvers McCrea Healthcare.

    Karl Savage, Head of Surgeries at The Practice commented ‘we are very excited with this news as Yeading Lane Medical Centre will be an important addition to our growing network of surgeries. Expansion in the Hillingdon area gives the opportunity for joint working and sharing of best practice particularly with our other local GP surgery in Shakespeare Avenue. In addition it allows us to build on the clinical services we also provide into the local community.’

    Over the next few weeks, The Practice will be working on an integration plan to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for patients and staff.

    About The Practice plc

    The Practice is a primary care company providing innovative community based healthcare for the NHS. Founded in 2005 by two GPs they are one of the UK’s leading providers of primary care services.

    The Practice operates a growing network of surgeries and GP led health centres, delivering effective infrastructure which allows GPs to concentrate on their core skill of practicing medicine. As part of the nation-wide health development programme set out by Lord Darzi, the company is working with GPs and other healthcare providers to deliver GP led Health Centres and to date have been awarded contracts in Suffolk, Dorset and Hounslow, West London.

    The Practice also delivers clinical services for GPs, the MOD and PCTs including Sexual Health, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Urgent Care, OOH Leadership and Admission Avoidance as well as providing primary care in secure settings such as prisons.

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

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