Hospital trust awarded 15-year contract to run practices hit by recruitment crisis

A hospital foundation trust has been awarded a 15-year contract to run three GP practices serving more than 20,000 patients in Derbyshire.

North Derbyshire CCG handed the contract to Chesterfield Royal Hospital FT’s subsidiary Royal Primary Care, which had been running the three former Holywell Medical Group practices under a caretaker arrangement since May 2015.

Two of five practice sites were lost when the group initially collapsed following recruitment problems and spiraling locum costs, according to the local GP leaders. The caretaker arrangement was supported by the LMC.

The new contract, which begins on 1 October, was welcomed by representatives of the practices' patient participation group (PPG). ‘We are delighted that Royal Primary Care has been successful in securing the contract to provide healthcare services to people across these communities,' said PPG chairman David Pipes.

‘We hope that more patients will start to share their experiences and join the PPG to bring about change and improvement. We are looking forward to working with Royal Primary Care to get more people involved in the surgeries and their future.’

Chesterfield Royal medical director Dr Gail Collins said: ‘We are pleased to be able to sustain these services for local people at a time when fewer doctors are choosing to train in primary care medicine and go into partnerships. We need to be able to offer new solutions – and over the past year it is clear that working for the Trust, as part of Royal Primary Care, can be a successful and viable approach.

‘Over the last year we have been able to attract and recruit five more GPs, there are early morning, evening and weekend GP appointments and new services have opened – including an ultrasound clinic staffed by the experienced team from Chesterfield Royal Hospital.  

'Through this long-term contract we will continue to develop Royal Primary Care, bringing GP, primary care and hospital services together in ways that will benefit all our patients.’

CCG chief officer Steve Allinson said the 15-year contract, which has an option to extend it a further three years, would give patients high quality, safe services.

‘The trust has over 30 years of knowledge and experience in local health care and we are confident that Royal Primary Care will continue to improve GP and primary care services to make sure its patients are well-cared for and looked-after,' he said.

In July the FT also began a new partnership with the 11,500-list Blue Dykes Surgeries in Clay Cross and Grassmoor, which had been operating with just two GPs. If successful after six months, the trust said, it could take steps to have the practices transferred permanently to its control. 

Update: a spokesman for North Derbyshire CCG told GPonline that an APMS contract was procured through a competitive tender process. The contract is capped at  2016/17 GMS global sum rate and based on a price per weighted patient has a total value of approximately £1.9m a year, dependent on provider achievements and patient numbers.

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