Todmorden and Halifax walk in centres – Freedom of Information reply

At the end of July Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker asked the question, What next for privatised walk-in GP centres in Tod and Halifax?

On behalf of NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit has now replied to my Freedom of Information request about the saga with Care UK over the contract to run the two privatised GP walk-in centres.

Calderdale CCG has answered some of the FOI questions and referred others on to NHS England, who are going to respond “as soon as possible”- apparently Calderdale CCG only has some of the info I asked for, and NHS England has the rest. This seems to be because of the reorganisation of the NHS as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Calderdale CCG has answered these questions:

1. What have been the effects on the re-procured contract of the delay in implementing it? And of the fact that there is now a lack of knowledge about what new model will be mobilised for the two walk in centres in May 2014, pending the conclusion of work by West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit, to establish a longer-term model for unscheduled care?


“NHS Calderdale CCG would like to reassure you that the Calder Community Practice in Todmorden and Park Community Practice will remain in place, providing a GP service for local people. In relation to the walk-in services which currently operate within those GP practices, we are currently working with our partners to review the best way of meeting the unscheduled care needs of local people. This review, which is nearing completion, has included consideration of different models of provision in primary and community settings elsewhere in the country, acost/effectiveness analysis and an extensive piece of patient and public engagement work. As part of this, the review is looking at the learning from the existing walk in services. The aim of the review is to generate a number of options for the provision of primary and community based unscheduled care long term. In the meantime, from October – to ensure continuity of service – we are aiming to put in a walk-in type service to cover weekends and bank holidays.”


2. Why does Calderdale need these two GP-led Health Centres, given Debbie Graham’s assessment at the Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel on 9 April 2013. The Panel Minutes report Ms Graham as saying that the walk-in services in Park and Todmorden wards

“had had no discernible impact on the number of attendances at Accident and Emergency. It had also been hoped that the walk-in service would provide primary care to people who are not registered with a GP, but in fact hardly any attendances at the walk-in services are from people who do not have a GP. She said that there is no evidence that the walk-in services had improved health outcomes.”

Calderdale CCG Response to my FOI question:

“The two GP practices were procured in Calderdale under the national ‘Equitable Access’ initiative.

The aim of this initiative was to deliver two elements:

  • A registered patient element, i.e., offering patients the option of registering with the service and using it as their GP practice. Calder Community Practice and Park Community Practice were procured as part of this initiative. They deliver services to their registered patients and these services will continue.
  • An ‘open access’ element, i.e., enabling any member of the public to access primary care services (for either routine or urgent care needs) at the practice. These are the Walk-in services.

Regarding the walk-in services, we would like to confirm the position as set out by Debbie Graham at the Scrutiny Panel and as such, the walk-in services are included in the review of unscheduled care.”

8. Why not just use the money from the re-procured contract to fund ordinary GP practices and A&E?

Calderdale CCG Reponse:

“Part of the rationale behind the review of unscheduled care provision (including the walk-in services) is to ensure that we are making the best use of resources.”


Now waiting for NHS England to answer these questions:

The questions that Calderdale CCG has handed on to NHS England are:

1) What did the 2009 Care UK contract cost NHS Calderdale? What was the cost per patient per year for the Halifax and Todmorden GP-led Health Centres? How did this compare with per patient yearly payments for ordinary GP practices in Calderdale?

2. Has NHS Calderdale had to compensate Care UK for ending its 2009 contract early? If so, how much compensation has it had to pay Care UK? What has been the effect on the contract and its costs of the subsequent agreement to extend the Care UK contract beyond its agreed early termination in 2012, until October 2013

3. What happened to the re-procurement of the contract, via the Calderdale PCT Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care tender Reference number 5J6/11/0003, start date Jan. 2, 2012, value £5,600,000, duration 5 yrs? The October 2012 minutes of the NHS Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield District Cluster Procurement Committee show that the Committee agreed to

“ approve the recommendation of the preferred bidder to deliver NHS Calderdale’s Equitable Access Phase 1 re-procurement scheme; and approve the recommendation of reserve Preferred Bidder to deliver NHS Calderdale’s Equitable Access Phase 1 reprocurement scheme should it prove not possible to reach contract close with the preferred bidder.”

Did this approval go ahead?

4. What was the reason for the delay in approving the re-procurement contract, which as far as I am aware, was advertised with a start date of January 2012?

5. Which provider was the re-procurement contract awarded to? Is this new provider still in place to run the two GP – led Health Centres under the re-procured contract, that I understand is now due to start in May 2014?

Answers will appear on Plain Speaker when I receive them.

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