Turning GP practice private increased costs by 64%

“The procurement of an APMS contract to a private provider – after the closure of a GMS practice – meant costs to the NHS increased by 64%, shows figures obtained by LMC leaders.

Partners at the St Lawrence Medical Practice in Braintree, Essex, were forced to hand their GMS contract back after they were unable to recruit more partners, and NHS England replaced it with an APMS contract run by Virgin Care.

An FOI to NHS England, revealed by Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer from Hertfordshire LMC at the LMCs Conference in Edinburgh, showed that the first year of the Virgin Care practice contract cost 64% moreq than the final 12 months of St Lawrence’s GMS contract.

The FOI, seen by Pulse, also revealed that the Sutherland Lodge practice in Essex was replaced by a Virgin Care APMS practice that increased costs by 16%. Sutherland Lodge had earlier been awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by the CQC but was forced to close due to the PMS reviews.

The figures were announced as part of a debate on NHS England’s decision to put all new GP practices contracts out to tender under APMS – first revealed by Pulse.

Local leaders voted in favour of the motion, which called on the GPC to take legal advice to ‘challenge the notion that only APMS contracts may be awarded when procuring general medical services’.

Dr Bramall-Stainer told delegates: ‘There was the case of the “Outstanding” Essex practice that was forced into handing back their contract last year due to the enforced PMS contract review.

‘This undermines the whole ethos of long-time continuity of care.’

The FOI response from NHS England said: ‘The budget for the current APMS contract (which commenced on 1 June 2016) will exceed the actual expenditure within the last twelve months of the former GMS partnership (1 June 2014 to 31 May 2015).

‘Following the procurements of the current APMS contracts for the St Lawrence and Sutherland Lodge practices we can confirm that the procurements resulted in the following approximate percentage increases in contract value rates compared to the GMS and PMS arrangements previously in place; St Lawrence: 64%; Sutherland Lodge: 16%.’

Pulse revealed earlier this year that more practices closed in 2016 than ever before.

Virgin Care was approached for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.”


Honiton hustings – Thursday 25 May 2017

Unlike East Devon hustings, which Hugo Swire refuses to attend, Neil Parish will be attending.

“The public will be able to grill the four candidates for the Tiverton and Honiton Parliamentary seat at a Question Time event.

The session, organised by Honiton Senior Voice, will be held at the town’s methodist hall on Thursday, May 25.

Conservative’s Neil Parish, Labour’s Caroline Kolek, Green Party’s Gill Westcott and Liberal Democrat Matthew Wilson are all vying for the coveted seat.

Senior Voice chair June Brown said: “This is probably the only opportunity Honiton people will have to hear direct from the four parties contesting locally and to question them in a single event. We are hoping for a good turnout.

“The event will again be impartially chaired by Roger Trapani, chair of Seaton Senior Voice, to whom we are very grateful.”

Doors open at the methodist hall at 1.30pm for 2pm start.

Refreshments are available and donations to cover the cost of the event are welcome.”


Top writer Hilary Mantel endorses Claire Wright for East Devon MP

“Bring up the voters! Novelist Hilary Mantel backs Claire Wright as “a candidate with a clear vision for our unique part of England.”

Novelist and East Devon resident Hilary Mantel has spoken out in favour of East Devon Independent parliamentary candidate Claire Wright.

Ms Mantel who has just returned from a trip to the US backed Ms Wright in the 2015 election in a column in a national magazine. Today she has issued a statement of her own in favour of Claire:

“Claire Wright is the candidate who will speak up for Devon East – she stands as an Independent, and that means she is free to speak with a strong and genuine voice on issues that affect all of us in our everyday lives. She is local, energetic, knowledgeable, and has a real chance of going to Westminster – if local people will come out and support her on election day. If you want a different kind of politics, do something different to get it. Don’t waste your vote, give it to Claire Wright: trust a candidate with a clear vision for our unique part of England.”

Responding to this endorsement Ms Wright says:

“It has been a completely amazing week for my campaign, but this news tops it all for me. Hilary Mantel is a hugely respected and really talented writer. I am so proud that she is backing me in such a public way. I am sure she knows what it means to me!”

This is the latest in a series of boosts for Ms Wright’s campaign: on Wednesday, the leading tactical voting website Tactical2017 endorsed her as the best East Devon candidate to defeat the Conservatives. Claire is currently the only Independent candidate in the country to be endorsed by Tactical2017.

Earlier in the week bookies William Hill confirmed Ms Wright as the official opposition in East Devon with odds of 9/2 and the only credible alternative to the Conservatives. And earlier this month Exeter City player David Wheeler also invited followers of his newspaper column to “rally behind the Independent Claire Wright” in East Devon.

Event Diary

Sunday 21st May, 7pm Q&A with Claire at the Grapevine Brewhouse, 2 Victoria Road, Exmouth, EX8 1 DL, 7pm.

Friday 26th May Cranbrook Hustings – details to be confirmed.

Tuesday 30th May 7.30pm, Exmouth Hustings, Holy Trinity Church, 6A Bicton Place, Exmouth, EX8 2SU”

REAL Hustings in East Devon – minus Swire who refuses to attend

Hustings are booked in so far at:
Friday 26 May – Cranbrook (details to be confirmed)
Tuesday 30 May, 7.30pm – Exmouth – Holy Trinity Church

Swire says he will do his own hustings alone, though how you can “hust” on your own is a bit of a puzzle! We like to see ALL our candidates answering the same questions at the same time at hustings. Alas, this will not happen in East Devon. Claire Wright and other candidates would rather it did.

Neil Parish (Con) IS attending hustings in his Tiverton and Honiton constituency.

“Claim ‘too many decisions at EDDC made by officers’ “

Owl’s question: why is EDDC involved in running a theatre at all? Perhaps it’s because Leader Diviani has a soft spot for them as he worked in the entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s!

“A debate over pay-and-display parking charges at a Sidmouth venue spilled over into claims key parties were not consulted and that officers repeatedly go over councillors’ heads.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee raised concerns the proposed regime – aimed at raising up to £30,000 a year for the Manor Pavilion – could deter users and be ‘counter-productive’.

Members were told they could not ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to approve the new charges, but they could make recommendations on the implementation.

Graham Liverton, an honorary alderman of the council, said: “I do appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to get this on the agenda, but I fear it won’t make a jot of difference.”

He chairs the Manor Pavilion steering committee, but said he had received a letter from an officer saying it is ‘no longer required’.

The meeting heard that, while members can still meet, it will no longer be administered by an EDDC officer.

Mr Liverton said: “In other words, because we disagreed with the decision [to introduce charges], we get the sack. I think that’s a great shame. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been disgraceful.”

He said many key users had to learn of the proposals in the Herald, adding: “The communication from EDDC has been so abysmal – it’s beyond belief.”

Officers said Sidmouth’s ward members had been told about the proposals, but admitted the town council was not consulted.

Councillor Maddy Chapman raised concerns no vote was taken about the future of the steering committee, adding: “Too many decisions are being made in this council that aren’t going through the proper channels. 
“Any amount of money won’t be enough to put new chairs in that theatre. It’s not going to work.”

Cllr Cathy Gardner added: “This is another example of how the council seems to be acting in a heavy-handed way of ‘we know best’. There are ways to make this usable for people who actually use the Manor Pavilion.

“If it means people don’t use the car park, that’s counterproductive. I can’t see how much money it will raise – it could have a big negative impact.”

The income from the car park’s 21 spaces will be ring-fenced for investment in the theatre and arts centre.

Theatre manager Graham Whitlock said its 277 chairs ‘will not last’ another five years and a previous quote said they would cost £150 apiece to recondition.

EDDC also hopes to bring in an online ticketing system he said will cost £10,000 a year.

“By charging for the car park we can continue to develop for the future,” added Mr Whitlock.

Scrutiny committee members backed EDDC’s plan to extend the maximum parking time from three to four hours, and called for the charges to end at 6pm, not 8pm as proposed.

They also said consulting users, ward councillors and Sidmouth Town Council should be an important part of the process.


You have until Monday at 11.59 pm to register to vote

Anyone planning to vote in June’s general election who isn’t yet on the electoral roll has only until Monday 22 May to register.

You’re eligible to vote in the 8 June general election if:

You’re a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 or over who is currently living in the UK.

You’re a British citizen aged 18 or over who’s been registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years.

However, simply being eligible to vote doesn’t mean you’re actually able to you have to register by


11.59pm on

Monday 22 May 2017


otherwise you won’t be able to vote in the general election.

In addition to giving you a vote, registering boosts your chances of getting credit, as lenders can use the electoral roll to check out potential borrowers. See our Credit Scores guide for more on this and other tips on how to boost your score.

How to register

Check if you’re registered to vote by getting in touch with your local authority. Enter your postcode on Gov.uk to find your local electoral registration office and contact it directly.

If you were registered for last June’s Brexit referendum or are for the local elections on Thursday 4 May this year, AND you still live at the same address, you should already be registered to vote but if not, you need to register by Monday 22 May.

If you’re not on the electoral roll, visit Gov.uk to register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Registering online takes about five minutes.

Or you can download a form to register by post, which you’ll need to send to your local electoral registration office, but make sure it arrives by 22 May.

To register in Northern Ireland, visit the Your Vote Matters website to download the form and return it to your local area electoral office.

Postal and proxy votes

If you’re already registered to vote in person and you wish to switch to a postal vote or a proxy vote (where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf) in time for the general election, there are separate deadlines for changing your voting method.

To switch to a postal vote, you’ll need to register by 5pm on Tuesday 23 May. If you’re opting for a proxy vote, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales, you can change your voting preferences by downloading a postal vote or proxy vote form from Gov.uk. To do this in Northern Ireland, different forms are required.