CCGs considering bail out for out-of-hours provider hit by financial problems

A GP-led out of hours provider has appealed to CCGs for a bail out after financial problems forced it to make redundancies.

Non-profit provider Shropdoc, which provides out-of-hours services to 600,000 patients in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Powys, said it faced the most serious financial challenges in its 21-year history.

In a joint statement Shropshire CCG accountable officer Dr Simon Freeman and Telford and Wrekin CCG chief officer David Evans said: ‘Shropdoc is facing financial challenges and Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin CCGs have been approached by Shropdoc for short-term financial support, which the CCGs are discussing with them.

‘As CCGs our priority is to ensure the continuity of care for local patients wherever possible. We will advise of any further developments over the coming weeks.’

In a letter to GP members earlier this month Shropdoc chair Dr Russell Muirhead revealed that CEO Ian Winstanley was was leaving the organisation, and that seven positions had been made redundant including director of transformation, operations director, and performance manager.

Funding gap

Dr Muirhead blamed the crisis on the the costs of providing its three main out-of-hours contracts being greater than the funding paid by commissioners. 

He said the organisation was seeking to ‘quickly renegotiate the value of the contracts for the current financial year’.

‘None of the contracts delivers a surplus so it is more than just reaching a cost neutral position, there has to be some percentage of surplus to ensure the contract is sustainable. We do not know if this will be possible and to what extent they will support us,' he said.

Dr Muirhead added: ‘We have several significant new opportunities which we are pursuing but we need to be mindful of the resources required to make them a reality.

‘I realise that this message contains some worrying news but it is where we are as an organisation and you need to be aware of this. Every member of staff is working hard to secure our future and their efforts are very much appreciated. We are not out of the woods yet by any means and more work will be required over the coming weeks and months.’

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