A PRIVATE firm pulled out from the running of a Leeds NHS walk-in centre and GP practice over a row about money, it has been revealed.
As reported in the YEP last week, health bosses are urgently seeking a new provider to operate the Shakespeare Medical Practice in Burmantofts.
Current operator Care UK decided not to extend the contract after negotiations between it and NHS chiefs broke down.
Now councillors have been told that the firm had asked for more money to provide the same service and for performance targets to be scrapped.
After NHS heads refused, Care UK invoked an exit clause to leave the contract when it runs out at the end of February.
Nigel Gray, chief officer of Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told a meeting: “We were in a strange and abnormal situation just before Christmas because they wanted to increase the financial value but not the activity and also a suspension of key performance indicators.
“We were not in a position to do that. It’s not in the patients’ interests or the financial interests of the NHS.”
The medical centre opened in 2009 as part of a Government drive to create these facilities in each area.
Almost 4,000 patients are registered at the GP practice there and a further 1,750 patients a month use the walk-in centre, which is open from 8am until 8pm.
Members of Leeds City Council’s Health Scrutiny Board heard that Care UK had run the centre since it opened and their contract was due to end on February 28 this year.
However negotiations with NHS bosses over extending it began last August.
Kathryn Hilliam, from NHS England, said: “Unfortunately discussions came to a halt when Care UK asked for something which we did not feel was acceptable. That was an increase in contract value and a removal of the key performance indictors.”
She said there was normally a six-month notice period and Care UK were not in breach of that, but negotiations had ended.
The board was told that an urgent process was now underway to find another provider, and this was open to organisations in West Yorkshire who were already running similar services.