Exclusive: Tougher APMS targets to raise bar for all GPs

High performance targets and long opening hours in an APMS contract obtained by GP are set to be rolled out nationally.

Senior NHS managers said the contracts would put pressure on other practices to work longer for no extra pay.

A contract between private firm Care UK and Barking and Dagenham PCT, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, demands weekday practice opening hours of 8am-8pm and 10am- 2pm on Saturdays at the Broad Street practice in east London.

It will have to deliver 13 enhanced services, be in the top 10 per cent of practices in the PCT for low referrals and emergency admissions, and hit other targets such as low generic prescribing.

Around 30 APMS deals will be rolled out across England in 2007. Senior NHS managers and GPs expect the contracts largely to mirror these tough terms.

Lawyers say the deals will favour large providers, but practices keen to expand will have to accept contracts on these terms to match private competitors.

Justin Cumberlege, a primary care legal expert from Carter Lemon Camerons, said PCTs were obliged to put all vacant practices out to tender on APMS deals under European law.

He said PCTs may offer vacancies as either GMS, APMS, PMS or PCTMS but, to secure a deal, providers would have to prove they could match the terms of the APMS deals.

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