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PCT decision to ‘import’ GPs causes anger

17 November 2008

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A “complete slap in the face” for doctors rejected in favour of a GP provider based 200 miles away is causing controversy in Weston-Super-Mare.

The local North Somerset PCT has announced that Kent-based Malling Health is the preferred provider for a GP practice in an underdoctored area.

But local GPs have told doctors’ website Pulse that the decision to award the contract to outsiders has caused anger and resentment.

Dr Peter Maksimczyk, who lost out, said that outsiders will struggle to tackle local needs, and fears that the new practice will suck up resources.

He said: “I’ve got no doubt the funding will be massive – outsiders are going to be expensive. We’ve done everything we can to support the PCT, and it’s very difficult to see this as anything other than a complete slap in the face.”

But Dr Thomas Reichhelm, a GP and development lead for Malling Health, said: “We’re aware that there might be some initial rejection, but we’re fairly confident that we’ll be able to convince people that we have no bad intentions.

“We have already started the process of finding out the local sensitivities and what matters locally. It’s quite refreshing to bring a new outlook and perspective.”

Copyright © Press Association 2008

North Somerset PCT

Do you agree that providers based at a significant distance from the practice could struggle to tackle local needs? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“The multi-practice business model to deliver primary care appears to be contaminating what needs to be a local and personal service. It ‘opens the door’ for the directors of these Limited Liability Practices or ‘Super GPs’ as described by the press, to plunder public funds allocated to the NHS by awarding themselves obscene salaries that we are told can range from £750k-£1.5m. They recieve £180 for every registered patient under their administration and the clinicians (including the GPs) are employees of the company rather than contracted directly to the DoH. As such the level of remuneration and terms of contract is set by them. The turnover of GP staff, in particular, can be extremely high with a high proportion of part time doctoring leading to a lack of continuity of care. In addition there is likely to be a consistent use of locum GPs. This is likely to create low morale and an operational framework that is detrimental to the delivery of a personal, caring service” – Richard Benns, Kent

“It shouldn’t be a problem if the provider is as good as the PCT believes it is. Local practices should put the new provider and the PCT under close scrutiny and take up shortcomings with the SHA or, if they will not/cannot listen, the press. If the provider works properly then all should benefit – if not, questions should be asked as to how the PCT’s preference came about” – Andrew Clark, Derbyshire