Darzi centre director calls for 'overfunding' inquiry

The director of a Tyne and Wear Darzi centre has called for an inquiry after revealing the practice receives around £816 a year per patient - over 10 times the pay per patient for GMS practices.

Dr Ken Megson: wasting money
Dr Ken Megson: wasting money

Dr Ken Megson, secretary of Gateshead LMC and director of the Medicus practice in Gateshead, told the LMCs conference in London last week it had failed to attract patients and was wasting money.

To audible gasps, Dr Megson told how just 250 patients have registered at the practice - well below its target of 1,500. It effectively receives £816 per patient, he said. The weighted pay per patient for GMS practices is around £64.

'It's an absolute disgrace to be getting paid this much money for doing nothing,' he said. ‘The PCT won't publish the costs, but I will.'

Dr Megson said it was clear 'from day one' that the new practice was surplus to requirements and poorly located. 

He described the PCT's public consultations as ‘events where there were more people from the PCT than members of the public'.

Delegates backed a motion calling for an independent body to report on the cost effectiveness of GP-led health centres across England.

Local GPs, campaign groups and the press have struggled to obtain comprehensive figures on the cost of the APMS centres because PCTs claim the information is commercially sensitive.

‘It's not commercially sensitive, it's commercially embarrassing,' said Dr Megson.

A spokeswoman for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, which covers Gateshead PCT, said they were currently reviewing their APMS contracts.

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