21st Oct, 2018

Fears over privatisation of late-night GP services in Warwickshire

FEARS have been raised a contract for late night GP services could be offered to a private provider.

In recent months government ministers have suggested a seven day health service should be provided, which would see doctors’ surgeries open until 8pm.

But while many may believe they will see their regular doctor at their registered surgery, the reality may be different.

Patients could have to travel to another centre where they would see a private GP.

South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public says South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which oversee GP services – plan to put the contract out to tender.

Campaign group spokeswoman Anna Pollert said: “The impression that has clearly been given has been that patients can expect their existing services with their own GPs in their own surgeries to be open for longer hours.

“Patients are now hearing that the funding for extended hours opening is to be subject to a separate contract and a competitive tendering process, leaving the possibility that the additional opening hours will be with a private provider in different premises.”

The group has asked how a private provider would meet patients’ needs and whether they would be able to access patient records.

But the CCG says the plans to offer extended hours were in their early stages.

A spokeswoman said: “The NHS planning guidance requires all CCGs to commission extra capacity to ensure that everyone has access to general practice services, including sufficient routine and same day, evenings and weekend appointments, to meet local demand.

“The guidance specifies CCGs must secure services following an appropriate procurement processes.

“We have made no decisions yet regarding the procurement process for extended capacity within local practices.”

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