Temporary reprieve for threatened APMS practices after public concern

Seven APMS practices in north-east England have been given a reprieve after local concern over proposed closures.

GP practice: north-east England practices reprieved (Photo: Geoff Franklin)
GP practice: north-east England practices reprieved (Photo: Geoff Franklin)

Eight practices which were at the end of their time-limited contracts were put under consultation by the local NHS England area team this summer. Five faced closure and two faced mergers, while another practice was recommended for reprocurement.

Following public consultation, six of the threatened practices have had their contracts extended temporarily for around a year.

One practice, Intrahealth’s Hartfields Medical Practice, based at a retirement village, will be reprocured on a new long-term contract.

Long-term plans

In statements NHS England’s Durham, Darlington and Tees area team said the contract extensions would allow wider reviews of services working with CCGs and local authorities to reach long-term decisions on the practices.

From April 2015 CCGs will be able to take on primary care commissioning powers.

An NHS England spokeswoman said: ‘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 were often ‘less value for money’ than GMS or PMS.

Deprived areas threatened

But shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told GP 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.’

Campaigners in Middlesbrough welcomed the one-year extension for Hemlington Medical Centre. Local MP Tom Blenkinsop (Lab, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland) said: ‘While it is good news that the medical centre will remain open for at least the medium term we obviously can’t rest on our laurels. What will happen after a year? We could find ourselves back in the position of having to fight for its future so by no means is the campaign over. I, along with my Labour colleagues, will continue to fight for our NHS.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...

Health worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI backs autumn COVID-19 booster campaign for high-risk adults and NHS staff

Frontline health and social care staff and adults at increased risk of severe illness...

GP consultation

Government accused of 'misleading' claims on general practice workforce

GP leaders have accused the government of making misleading claims about the general...

Consulting room door

LMC calls for enhanced access to be scrapped after abuse forces practice to close reception

A Midlands LMC has backed a practice forced to close its reception desk after abuse...