Northumbria joins forces with local GPs to launch ‘Northumbria Primary Care Ltd’
One of the country’s leading NHS providers, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has formally launched a new business venture in partnership with local GPs to offer a wide range of professional support services to primary care.
Northumbria Primary Care Ltd (NPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, started providing care on 1 April 2015 after gaining approval from NHS England and Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration.
Led by local GPs and building on years of successful collaboration between primary and acute care in North Tyneside and Northumberland, NPC will provide strong clinical leadership, decision making and support to help GPs meet the everyday challenges facing local practices through a single provider. Bespoke packages of support will be available for both individual and federations of GPs, with specifically tailored solutions to meet practice needs.
NPC has already begun work with three local primary care partners, providing complete management support for Ponteland Medical Group which operates across three sites just north of Newcastle serving 11,000 patients and Collingwood Medical Group in Blyth serving 5,000 patients. Cramlington Medical Group serving 5,000 patients is also at an early stage of integration into NPC.
All three have chosen to transfer their full practice management to NPC, however GPs can choose from a range of tiered services and decide on the level of support they require, which include:
· Quality, governance and compliance
· Payroll management
· Financial services
· Human resources and organisational development
· Estates maintenance
Results so far through NPC collaboration have been impressive with one member practice recording a 76 per cent improvement in routine access times from an average of 21 days to five days with work continuing towards a 48-hour standard. Another practice has saved £6,000 in monthly expenditure thanks to the expertise available through NPC.
Dr Nigel Twelves is executive GP for Ponteland Medical Group and clinical director of Northumbria Primary Care Ltd. He said: “Having worked as a GP for more than 20 years, I am really excited about the development of NPC which is already starting to deliver benefits for over 20,000 patients in the North East.
“Over the past year we have worked closely with leaders at Northumbria Healthcare to establish NPC Ltd as a stand-alone venture which means we can capitalise on the vast corporate expertise of a highly-successful NHS foundation trust whilst having very clear lines of accountability to NPC’s own board of directors which is led by GPs.
“At Ponteland Medical Group we have transferred the entire practice management to NPC which means our GPs are now able to focus on day-to-day patient care, rather than the time-consuming, yet crucial, aspects of managing a GP practice. The benefits for our patients are already very clear with more appointments available with GPs and quicker response times for patients when they contact the practice and we are looking forward to enhancing our services even further with the help of NPC.”
Since launching on 1 April 2015, NPC Ltd has received multiple enquiries from other GP practices with strong interest in services offered around corporate governance, CQC compliance and financial services.
GPs are particularly interested in support available around the CQC’s new inspection regime which now incorporates every single GP practice across England, as well as financial expertise from NPC to help build more efficient systems and processes which will ultimately benefit patient care.
Dr Derek Thomson, a practising GP in Haltwhistle in Northumberland is on the board of directors at NPC Ltd and is also medical director of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. He said: “We are delighted to formally launch NPC and have already had some fantastic feedback from the primary care community.
“We are very fortunate to have such positive relationships between primary and acute care, as well as a really forward-thinking foundation trust, which has allowed us to establish NPC. It makes absolute sense that we pool our expertise in this way and offer a service to primary care through NPC that will ultimately help us all work towards wider shared goals for better integration and full seven-day NHS services.”
Similar services from other providers in the private sector already exist in the market however this is the first time such as venture has been launched by an NHS foundation trust. Northumbria Primary Care Ltd means for the first time GPs can access substantial corporate expertise from one of England’s largest and most successful NHS organisations, yet have total control over the level of service they need in order to run their practice effectively.
Following successes since launching in April, NPC Ltd is already advertising for more salaried GPs to join the company which will offer great flexibility for those looking for a better work-life balance and the ability to focus on patient care.