Robbie Coull

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Shapinsay APMS Bid

The island of Shapinsay is part of the archipelago that forms the Orkney Isles. It is 25 minutes by ferry from Kirkwall on mainland Orkney and has a population of around 320. They have recently lost their resident full time GP, and NHS Orkney is considering various proposals for the future provision of medical cover for the island.

We believe that the future of primary care services in remote and island communities depends on Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) like NHS Orkney investing in the maintenance of sustainable, high quality, residential, GP led, services in these areas.

NHS Orkney has issued a Statement of Intent, setting out their requirements for proposals that they will consider. This statement says that NHS Orkney does not consider a resident GP on the islands to be of any importance, but instead gives priority to proposals that provide cover from Kirkwall and boost the number of GPs in Kirkwall to shore up the GP hospital cover and Out of Hours GP cover on the mainland.

We consider this Statement of Intent to be incompatible with safe medical care for the residents of the islands affected, and are asking NHS Orkney to change the Statement of Intent to make residential GP cover a priority.

With the new GP General Medical Services (GMS) contract, it is now possible for private companies to bid for contracts to run routine GMS medical care. Such Alternative Personal Medical Services (APMS) contracts have already been implemented in parts of the UK where single handed practices have been impossible to replace via normal GMS/PMS routes.

Working with the islanders, we have produced an APMS plan which proposes the creation of a private company to bid for funding from NHS Orkney to provide and manage all core GP services, many enhanced services (such as minor injuries), and 24hr emergency cover with a GP resident on the island 365 days a year. The company may be owned by a group of GPs, or by the Shapinsay community itself.

The plan also contains estimated costs for many of the possible proposals that NHS Orkney will consider.

download a copy of the Shapinsay APMS Business Plan
(PDF file 250k approx - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

If you have any comments or suggestions for the plan, don't hesitate to contact me .

Robbie Coull
locum GP

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