Police investigating fraud at 10,000-patient practice at risk of closure
The police have launched a fraud investigation into a 10,000-patient practice in Lanarkshire, which is also at risk of closure.
Three months after the launch of the investigation in February, Greenhills Medical Practice’s six partners announced they would hand back their GMS contract at the end of October.
When approached by Pulse, the practice referred to a statement on its website which said their reasons for handing back their contract included ‘difficulties with GP recruitment and unforeseen circumstances’.
The statement added: ‘NHS Lanarkshire have begun the process to find GPs to take over the running of Greenhills Medical Practice.’
In the minutes of a patient meeting held in light of the closure, NHS Lanarkshire said its ‘primary aim’ would be for a new provider to take over the practice.
However, it added that if a new provider is not found, the practice’s 10,500 patients would be redistributed to other nearby surgeries or the health board would take over the practice.
If the patients did have to be redistributed, the health board said: ‘It would not be catastrophic. It would, however, be challenging.'
Police Scotland confirmed to Pulse that there is an ongoing investigation of fraud at the practice but said there have been no arrests or charges.
The spokesperson declined to comment on how much money is missing from the practice.
Linda Findlay, medical director for South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: 'NHS Lanarkshire is aware that Greenhills Medical Practice is cooperating with a Police Scotland investigation. We are supporting the partners at the practice during this period.
'Our primary aim is for the practice to continue with any new owner taking responsibility for staff and providing primary medical services to patients in the locality.
'In this regard, a selection process is now underway to ensure that continuity of care.'
The news comes as NHS Lanarkshire is currently in the grip of a severe GP shortage. An investigation from Scottish Labour revealed earlier this month that this had led to average locum rates of £852 per day.