23rd Sep, 2019

Fears taxpayers' money will be wasted on process which could see private doctors replace GPs

Laura Kearns 30th Jan, 2018

CONCERNS have been raised healthcare bosses are wasting taxpayers money through a bidding process which could see private doctors replace GPs.

South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (SWCCG) has been told it must work towards providing a seven day health service, which would see doctors’ surgeries open until 8pm.

And following an email circulated by the local GP Federation, it was revealed the CCG would be putting the contract out to tender at the end of January – something which the CCG denies has yet been decided.

Campaign group South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) says putting the contract up for bidding would be another waste of taxpayers money following a similar procurement process some two years ago.

The tendering process cost the CCG and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust a combined £500,000 and resulted in community services still being run by the trust after the process was cancelled.

A SWKONP spokeswoman told the Observer: “We read every day that the NHS is in its worse crisis ever. Yet South Warwickshire CCG appears bent on wasting our money by pursuing plans to tender out the extended hours GP services, which have been required by the government.

“Hasn’t SWCCG learned any lessons from previous wasted tendering exercises?

“It previously approved putting community services, run by SWFT, out to competitive tender.

“SWKONP estimated that a total of in the region of £500,000 was spent on an entirely unnecessary process and then the tendering exercise was cancelled.

“In the current acute crisis of the NHS, it is outrageous that SWCCG is again wasting public money. They will again waste our money, and the South Warwickshire GP Federation will be forced to fork out vast sums to obtain the contract for extended GP services.

“GPs are already financially over-stretched. How can the CCG justify squandering of scarce NHS money?”

But the CCG said no decision on a tendering process had yet been reached.

A spokesman said: “All CCGs must commission extra capacity to ensure everyone has access to GP services, including routine, same day, evening and weekend appointments, to meet local demand.

“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 or on how any enhanced arrangements in the future would complement existing out of hours provision.

“We will be engaging with our patients and the public on any future proposals.”

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