More GP practices join buying groups to save time and funds

GP practices are increasingly signing up with buying groups to help manage costs and reduce time spent dealing with procurement.

Buying groups are becoming increasingly popular among GP practices
Buying groups are becoming increasingly popular among GP practices

Williams Medical Supplies has seen a swift rise in the number of GPs joining its buying group. The company expects to reach 130 practices by the end of 2012, a 400% uplift.

Williams Medical chief executive Steve Dunn said he believed the increase was down to proposed changes to the NHS. 'GPs may feel the current Health Bill consultation is a break, but they need to use the interval to get their houses in order and that means a more efficient operation,' he said.

Membership organisation PSUK has also seen an increase in the number of GPs signing up.

Head of sales Jason Hollins said the company had seen a 33% increase in the past nine to 12 months.

'We would like to think the increase is due to the service we offer but some of it could also be due to general practice looking more closely at what they do,' he said.

The LMC Buying Groups federation has also witnessed a dramatic increase in membership.

Chief negotiator Chris Locke said membership had doubled in the past year as GPs sought to offset rising expenses and falling income.

'There has been no substantive increase to GP practice income in the past four years,' Mr Locke said. 'Money is tight.'

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