Five GP clinics in Aberdeen are coming under new management as part of a £5 million shake-up which prompted some doctors to walk out.
Last year health bosses voted to find independent GP-led partnerships to run practices at Old Aberdeen, Camphill, Carden, Marywell, Torry and Whinhill.
At that time they were being directly managed by the NHS – the only practices left in the city still working under that structure.
The 23 other clinics in Aberdeen are all run by GPs contracted by the health authorities, as are the majority across Scotland.
Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) said the restructure will make the practices more “sustainable” – but one union claimed it paved the way for privatisation.
It also prompted all nine Old Aberdeen GPs to resign in protest of how the decision was made.
New contracts to be signed
A report going before next week’s Aberdeen Integration Joint Board, which oversees the work of ACHSCP, has revealed the successful bidders for each GP practice:
- Camphill Medical Practice – 2C Social Enterprise Group
- Carden Medical Centre – 2C Social Enterprise Group
- Old Aberdeen Medical Practice – Newburn
- Torry Medical Practice – 2C Social Enterprise Group
- Whinhill Medical Practice – OneMedical Group
No bids were received for the Marywell homeless practice, which moved into the Timmermarket Building on East North Street due to flooding.
It was previously thought too small for private management to be economically viable, and health bosses will now work on “redesigning” the service with a list of options to be drawn up later this year.
Anger over restructure
Following the resignations at Old Aberdeen last year, Denburn Medical Practice – now known as Newburn – took over the running of the facility temporarily while the tender process took place.
More than 1,000 residents signed a petition calling for a U-turn on the proposals, with one campaign group escalating its concerns to the public services ombudsman.
It accused senior ACHSCP officials of making misleading statements and having conflicts of interest.
But in March an independent investigation into the alleged wrongdoing cleared the board of the “most significant” complaints.
It did make four recommendations for change, however, relating to refresher training on registering interests, changing from a voting system to staff surveys, making more documents publicly accessible and reviewing its complaints procedures.
‘Exciting’ new prospects
In the documents going before next week’s IJB meeting, chief officer Sandra MacLeod wrote: “Following the issue of the award letters, meetings were arranged with officers and staff of the practices to answer any queries they had.
“A lot of the questions focused on terms and conditions and transfer of staff to the new providers.”
She said three groups have met so far, as has a project group with representatives from HR, property management, finance and communications departments.
An Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership spokesman said: “We are delighted to be nearing the stage when contracts will be signed on the new management arrangements for the five GP practices.
“It is exciting that we have secured such a broad range of providers, including an existing local GP practice, a national general medical services provider with wide experience of offering NHS services, and Aberdeen’s first social enterprise provider of GP services.
“We are looking forward to working with all of the new providers to ensure that GP practice right across Aberdeen works even more collaboratively to put it on a more sustainable footing for the future.
“Patients do not need to do anything as part of this management change-over and we will keep them fully informed as the process moves to completion.”