Taking steps to replace care for Todmorden patients when practice closes next year

Todmorden Health Centre.
Todmorden Health Centre.

One more attempt will be made to “test the market” to buy services for patients at a Todmorden medical practice when their existing care ends there in March 2020.

The Calder Community Practice, which is on the second floor of Todmorden Health Centre, a building it shares with Todmorden Group Practice and some NHS services, is one of five practices whose services for around 9,700 people will end next March when contracts with two providers will end and will not be renewed by Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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The contracts, known as Alternative Provider Medical Service (APMS) contracts, are too expensive to continue with, argues the CCG.

The CCG argues they are around twice as expensive as other forms of contract.

In the autumn patients of services provided by Meadow Dale Group Practice (Virgin Care LLP) at Ovenden, Elland and Sowerby Bridge, and those provided by Park and Calder Community Practice (Locala CIC) at Park Community in Central Halifax and Calder Community in Todmorden, were consulted after the CCG decided to end the services as they were “neither sustainable nor affordable”, according to documents presented to council scrutiny board members.

But the CCG is legally responsible for ensuring patients will have ongoing access to primary medical services and it says every patient will be able to access services at an alternative practice.

It has said the option it is recommending is that patients are dispersed among other nearby practices.

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On January 9, 2020, the CCG will be presenting this option, along with views voiced by Calderdale Council’s Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board and the results of the consultation, to the Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee under delegated authority from NHS England, for determination.

The report of findings from the consultation is still being drafted, says the CCG – but it has outlined the high level themes of concern which have arisen.

These include patients’ concerns about capacity at other GP practices, about patients returning to practices where they were previously registered, the availability of appointments, travel and transport to practices further away, and continuity of their care.

The CCG will then deliberate on the outcome of the consultation and also on actions it might need to take to mitigate concerns following the expiry of the APMS contracts next March.

It says it has already extending the existing contracts to the maximum allowable period already and has tested the market to buy services for all five practices on two separate occasions but no options have proved viable to secure quality services.

The CCG will have one more try at procurement for a service for the Calder Community Practice at Todmorden alone, it says according to briefing papers to the Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board.

But if this fails the “locally managed dispersal” of the patient list will be applied four in the same way as the other four.

APMS contracts enable commissioning groups to provide primary medical services within their area to the extent that they consider it necessary to meet all reasonable requirements.

The other routes are General Medical Services (GMS) and Personal Medical Services (PMS).

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