GPs federate across East Anglia to protect patients and develop services

More than 100 practices in Norfolk and Suffolk have formed a GP federation to collaborate in service provision.

Federation: GPs from hundreds of practices will work together in East Anglia
Federation: GPs from hundreds of practices will work together in East Anglia

Warning of the threat of blood tests being carried out by supermarkets as services are opened up to competition from any qualified provider, the Iceni Healthcare federation said it would put patients and NHS services at it heart rather than profits.

The news comes a day after the GPC warned that overworked practices needed more help and advice to set up collaborative working arrangements.

In a BMA survey 69% of GPs said workload pressures were a barrier to setting up a network or federation, while 66% wanted more guidance.

Over a third of GPs questioned were considering joining some kind of collaborative arrangement, while 22% were already part of one.

Federation to protect patients

An Iceni Healthcare spokeswoman said the federation of 106 practices could help protect patients from having to travel long distances for routine and regular services.

She added: ‘It would be impractical, time consuming, costly and difficult for each individual practice to bid for tenders. NHS England, public health and CCGs would be inundated with bids.

'Practice managers would be swamped with tender documents and small rural practices are unlikely to be able to compete with large private companies. However, 106 GP practices, combined with locally situated surgeries, listening to and acting on the needs of their patients, would be a powerful, relevant and appropriate organisation to which services could be awarded.’

As well as retaining current services provided by practices, the federation aims to develop new ones.

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