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Header image for the current page Procuring GP services in Staffordshire

Procuring GP services in Staffordshire

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With the contracts for three local GP services in Staffordshire (covering Rugeley and Burntwood) coming to an end, NHS England and the local CCGs needed procurement support to appoint a new supplier.

Arden & GEM’s primary care procurement specialists worked in collaboration with NHS England North Midlands, Cannock Chase CCG and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG, to run a complex procurement process which brought together a large range of stakeholders.

As a result, three providers were successfully appointed, under three separate Alternative Provider Medical Services contracts worth £2.6m per annum, to deliver high quality, patient centred, value for money services.

The challenge

In 2018, it was identified that contracts for the following GP services in Staffordshire were coming to an end:

  • The Horsefair Practice in Rugeley
  • Sandy Lane Surgery in Rugeley
  • Burntwood Health and Wellbeing Centre in Burntwood.

As a result of changes to primary care commissioning, brought about by the Five Year Forward View, the two local CCGs – Cannock Chase CCG and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG – had delegated responsibility for the commissioning of general practice services.

Working in collaboration with NHS England North Midlands, the local commissioners needed to source GP services for three lots under an Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract. Providers were needed who could deliver high quality, patient centred, value for money services in a safe and effective manner.

Our approach

As part of Arden & GEM’s ongoing procurement support for NHS England, our award winning service was tasked with running an eight month process to appoint providers to all three lots. 

The process was originally limited to two lots but our specialists were able to advise that by including the additional lot (for Burntwoood Health and Wellbeing Centre), process efficiencies would be generated, including time savings for the commissioners. The CSU supported completion of a business case to this effect, in accordance with NHS England Standing Financial Instructions (SFIs).

Engaging the market

Prior to publishing the Invitation to Tender (ITT), Arden & GEM facilitated engagement with the market, centred on a briefing event. This provided an opportunity for the commissioners to test the specification and instructions with potential bidders as well as answer questions from bidders, which had been provided anonymously in advance.

This approach helped to create an even playing field for prospective suppliers, many of whom may never have completed a competitive bid before.

Nine organisations accessed the event to ensure they had the best understanding possible of the specification and receive guidance on completing a quality bid.

Running the procurement process

Following publication of the ITT and responses to initial clarification questions, the CSU organised a webinar to enable the commissioners to give a detailed overview of their requirements in respect of the financial model template. This supported a fair, open and transparent process.

Once bids had been received, a wide ranging panel of subject matter experts was convened – including representatives from NHS England, the two CCGs, Arden & GEM and HealthWatch – to evaluate bids. With three commissioning organisations involved, it was important that all evaluators understood how to use the online system (with training provided by the CSU) and how to score fairly and in line with best practice (with guidance documents provided by the CSU). The moderation process was successfully coordinated by the procurement team, with clear expectations set about how a consensus would be reached. It was particularly important this stage was well managed to protect the commissioners from potential legal challenges.


"For CCGs taking part in an NHSE re-procurement of local primary care services, we needed a high degree of confidence that the process was fair, seen to be fair and avoided conflicts of interest. Arden & GEM’s approach was rigorous and led to a successful outcome."

Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Chair at Stafford and Surrounds CCG

The outcomes

As a result of meticulous project management principles and a rigorous procurement approach, contracts worth £2.6m per annum, across the three lots, have been awarded to three organisations.

This has secured high quality, patient centred, value for money services for patients in Staffordshire through a fair and open process conducted in a timely manner.


"This was has hugely complex and time consuming procurement to lead. The support, advice and guidance from Arden & GEM was crucial in order to maximise efficiencies and ensure that we followed a robust and transparent approach in line with the required legislative requirements. 

Additionally, Arden & GEM was able to support and advise me in preparing my business case to secure approval from NHS England’s Commercial Executive Group for 15 year terms for the two Rugeley APMS contracts. This alone will assist in recruitment, stabilise services for the local population for the longer term and deliver ever better value for money."

Darrell Jackson, Primary Care Lead at NHS England


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