• GP Federation said it was leaving joint venture but changed its mind
  • Joint venture took over area’s adult community health services last April
  • Services previously run by Virgin Care

A last-ditch agreement has stopped a pioneering joint venture between a GP federation and an acute trust from falling apart.

Procare and the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust took over adult community health services in the Guildford and Waverley area in April last year – the first time a federation and an acute trust had worked together in this way. 

But, last month, the trust was informed Procare wanted to withdraw from the arrangement, as referenced in papers for a trust board meeting late last week.

However, earlier last week, the trust met with GPs from Procare and agreed to continue working together. HSJ understands that, although many GPs were unhappy with some aspects of the arrangement, including payments, this sentiment stopped short of wanting to end the venture.

In a joint statement, RSCH and Procare said: “Delivering a complex community contract is challenging and there has been some debate in agreeing some of the fine details.

“However, RSCH and Procare are continuing to work together on plans to transform community care for our patients under the adult community health services contract which we are jointly running. We have recently met and agreed how to develop our services and align them with the primary care networks.”

Procare and the trust jointly oversee and deliver the community contract, with Procare expected to take over directly managing the community nurses under a subcontract within the next six months.

The adult community health services in the area had previously been run by Virgin Care, which initially was chosen as the preferred provider, in partnership with the Royal Surrey and other organisations, following a reprocurement in 2016.

However, in February 2017, Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group became concerned about the lack of progress on mobilisation and chose the Royal Surrey and Procare to run the services instead, with a revised start date of April 2018.

The contract – which has an annual value of just under £14m – has the potential to run for nine years. It includes many services provided in the home, as well as rehabilitation beds and a minor injuries unit at Haslemere Hospital. It aims to better integrate hospital, community and GP care.

The CCG said it “remained committed to working in partnership with the RSCH and Procare”.