GPs beat private firms to 75% of APMS contracts

Almost three quarters of APMS contracts to date have been awarded to entrepreneurial GPs ahead of private providers, according to researchers.

They concluded that, although contracts had begun to be awarded to private firms, no ‘revolution' had yet taken place.

Last year Chris Town, chairman of government White Paper advisory group the Working in Partnership Programme, forecast up to 30 per cent of practices in England could be run by private providers by 2010.

A team from the King's Fund sent Freedom of Information requests about APMS contracts in October 2006 to all of England's 153 PCTs.

They asked whether PCTs had put any primary care services out to tender since April 2004, when APMS was introduced, and whether an APMS contract had been awarded.

Of the 122 PCTs that replied, 69 had invited tenders and 34 APMS contracts had been awarded by 28 PCTs.

Entrepreneurial GPs were awarded 24 of the 34 contracts, with nine going to non-NHS firms and one to an NHS trust.

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