Greyfriars contract could not be extended due to European regulations

The new Greyfriars health centre, Yarmouth.

The new Greyfriars health centre, Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant © 2011

The contract for Greyfriars is coming to an end, as NHS England are unable to extend the contract a third time due to European Regulations it has been learnt.

Integral Medical Holdings extended who run the practice and employ the staff, extended their contract on March 31 to run up until September 30.

This was the second time that NHS England had extended the contract with IMH, and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Comissioning Group, said it would have left them open to legal challenge if it was extended a third time.

A spokesman from the CCG said: 'The decision on the future of the Greyfriars contract has been driven by the fact that it expires at the end of September and cannot be extended again. This is because the CCG cannot extend the current contract beyond its specified term.

'To do so would be infringing European regulations where all contracts must be of a limited, specified, term, i.e. one cannot have a rolling contract which would be permitted in the private sector.

'Extending it would open the CCG to a legal challenge under the Public Contract Regulations 2015, and the Procurement Choice and Competition Regulations (2013), both of which govern NHS procurement.'

Since the announcement the CCG has since taken delegated responsibility for commissioning and it is there responsibility to identify any replacement service.

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Currently the plan is to provide an out of hours base at Greyfriars for people who need help from a GP at weekends and over bank holidays but are unable to travel to the out of hours primary care base at James Paget Hospital.

This will be accessed via the 111 service.

The decision was made in May to close the town's only walk in centre after a meeting of the governing body of medical commissioners.

CCG bosses said the walk-in centre was not used enough and had 'minimal impact towards reducing A&E attendances' at the James Paget.

The multi-million pound health centre and walk-in clinic opened less than five years ago, and campaigners launched a petition which has received over 2,000 signatures to date.

A report into the feedback gathered at public meetings and online will be discussed by the CCG's governing body on July 29.