‘APMS competition unfair’

The DoH has failed to create a level playing field for GPs competing with large, private firms for APMS contracts, according to the GPC.

At last week’s Primary Care 2007 conference in Birmingham, GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: ‘APMS was not aimed at budding practices, it was geared towards big companies. It is not a level playing field.’

But DoH national clinical director for primary care Dr David Colin-Thomé defended the tendering process.

‘We have more GPs now than we have had in the past 10 years, but there are not enough working in deprived areas,’ he said. ‘Despite the growth in general practice, the gap remains the same.

‘We are keen to use APMS, and it could be private providers — I don’t give a damn as long as we get the services.’

National Association of Primary Care president Dr Peter Smith said GPs could win contracts: ‘There are areas that the NHS just cannot get GPs interested in. People talk about a level playing field and clearly there are issues here, but it is essential that we go down this route.’

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