Published: 19:17, 14 August 2020
| Updated: 19:20, 14 August 2020
No compensation will be paid to a medical firm stripped of running five GP surgeries and suspended from three others, it has been confirmed.
DMC Healthcare notified NHS chiefs it would be handing back its £4.1 million contracts in Medway after inspectors found serious flaws.
The London-based company, which took over the challenged practices in the last two years and also runs a ninth which was not subject to remedial action, says it was not viable to run the practices any more.
GP services at St Werburgh Medical Practice in Hoo – its two branch surgeries at Lower Stoke and the Yellow Suite at Balmoral Gardens in Gillingham – and St Mary's Island Practice – along with its four branch surgeries in Twydall, the Pentagon Centre in Chatham, the Sunlight Centre Surgery and the Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens – were subject to CQC action.
Inspectors decided DMC was not fit to run St Mary's Island practice after finding it was inadequate having already decided to suspend it from running the St Werburgh Practice.
DMC then decided to return the Kings Family Practice in Chatham contract despite inspectors not raising concerns about that surgery.
Figures released to KentOnline show the annual contract for St Werburgh Practice for 2020/21 is worth £963,216 with the Kings Family Practice worth £452,275.
Both practices were contracted on an unlimited time period and the cost is set by national funding agreements with the value fluctuating each year.
The St Mary's Island practice and its branch surgeries was contracted for three years from April 2019 and was worth £3.687m per year. There was also an option to extend the contract for a further year.
Each surgery is paid on a monthly basis meaning DMC has been paid £5.5m since the start of its contract for St Mary's Island.
The NHS says DMC scored 23% higher than its nearest competitor against a range of clinical quality and financial indicators during the procurement process.
According to the termination agreement, any outstanding money owed by either the NHS or DMC in line with the timescales of the contracts will be paid up to September 2.
DMC will then cease from running the surgeries entirely.
"We can now move on to securing a long-term future for these surgeries that will provide patients with high quality, sustainable healthcare"
They will then be fully taken on by the Medway Practices Alliance (MPA) – a group of doctors from around the Towns – drafted in until a long-term provider is found.
Patients can call their regular surgery for appointments and prescriptions and do not need to take any action or find a new GP.
Discussions between DMC directors and the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) concluded on August 5 after agreeing terms on a 28-day handover period.
Some 60,000 patients have been affected by the fiasco as CCG bosses were forced to find interim providers for both the GP contracts and the North Kent dermatology service, which was also found to be unsafe by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The termination of the dermatology contract is yet to be agreed.
Senior health officials have promised to lead a full review into what went wrong.
Wilf Williams, accountable officer at NHS Kent and Medway CCG, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with DMC Healthcare which is in the best interest of our patients. There will now be a handover period between DMC and MPA, the temporary provider, although much of this work is already in progress.
"A similar caretaking arrangement will also be put in place at Kings Family Practice.
“We can now move on to securing a long-term future for these surgeries that will provide patients with high quality, sustainable healthcare. We will begin to talk to other local GPs to find a solution and will be engaging with patients and other stakeholders in due course.
“Patients will continue to be cared for by the temporary provider until a long-term solution is in place so they can call their usual surgery to access services.”