Durham APMS practice shut down as two others win reprieve

Commissioners have confirmed one APMS practice in Durham will close while another two have been given a temporary reprieve after a public consultation.

Contract: APMS deal in Durham to be scrapped
Contract: APMS deal in Durham to be scrapped

The decisions come just months after a GP investigation revealed more than 120 APMS contracts were under review, with many placing practices in deprived areas at risk.

The three Durham practices were among 11 APMS contracts put under review by NHS England’s Durham, Darlington and Tees area team.

Seven that faced closure or merger were given temporary contract extensions last month following public concern over threatened closures.

The Durham, Darlington and Tees area team has now announced its decision for the three remaining practices in Durham.

Contract extended

IntraHealth Healthworks in Easington,which was recommended for decommissioning, will have its contract extended until March 2016 to enable a wider review with the CCG.

Intrahealth Wingate will be re-provided and a re-procurement exercise will begin in the new year, as originally recommended.

Jupiter House Horden will be closed and patient offered the choice to register at another local practice which commissioners say is closer to many patients’ homes.

A spokeswoman for the area team said: 'This process will be managed by the area team and patients will be given the relevant information to support this process.

Access to services

'As always, we will put patient care at the centre of all we do and continue to ensure patients have access to GP services.'

The area team admitted in its consultation that the APMS contracts often delivered ‘less value for money’ than GMS or PMS deals.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told GP in October he was worried that APMS health centres commissioned under the last Labour government in under doctored and deprived areas faced funding cuts as they come up for review because NHS England had forgotten why they needed more money.

Commissioners, he said, were ‘almost forgetting the lessons of the past, which were that general practice wasn’t getting to some parts of the country’.

‘It is saying, why does this one cost more than that one,’ he said. ‘But actually there were good reasons.’

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