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GP practice closed down by CQC while waiting for vulnerable practice support

Exclusive A GP practice identified as a target for the vulnerable practice fund has been closed down by the CQC while waiting for that support to materialise, Pulse has learned.

The Raynor Road Medical Centre in Wolverhampton was awaiting support from the £10m fund announced with the ‘new deal’ for general practice last year, but in the interim the CQC has closed it down.

The practice was a branch surgery since merging with Lockfield Surgery in Walsall which means patients can use either surgery, but the two surgeries are more than three miles apart, leaving around 3,000 patients without a local GP.

NHS England’s vulnerable practice scheme had identified around 800 practices across the country as being in need of support at the start of the year, but LMCs across the country have said that practices are not yet seeing material support.

Dr Uzma Ahmad, medical secretary for Walsall LMC, which helped identify the vulnerable practice, said it could have been saved if support had come through sooner.

She said: ’It is a branch practice of a practice which is in Walsall but it is in Wolverhampton. I know that it is in the list of vulnerable practices but I have learned that yesterday it was shut down by the CQC without prior notice. The patients were coming and the doors were shut.

’My concern is that this funding announced last year, we are just sitting and talking about it and [meanwhile] a practice has been shut down before the funding could reach it. I think that is a real failing on behalf of NHS England.’

Asked whether the practice could had been saved if help had come sooner, Dr Ahmad said: ’I believe so, because the concerns were there something could have been done to save that practice.

The news comes as NHS England has yet to launch the tender for the support framework for vulnerable practices, which is now expected this month.

In a letter to regional teams in December, NHS England had said it hoped to have the framework up and running within ‘3-6 months’.

The letter said prospective providers could include ’good local practices, GP federations, LMCs or wider primary care organisations who are able to organise and deliver a peer support offer’.

It said that in some instances ’specialist advice and support might be able to be delivered by a range of different types of providers’, which NHS England told Pulse could include ’things like IT services or finance management support’.

The spokesperson also said that a prior information notice will be published next week to inform potential providers of the upcoming tender process.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has defended the Government’s support measures for general practice against criticism that they were taking too long to materialise.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Mr Stevens said NHS England has ’made a start with identifying the first 700 or 800 practices that might benefit from that’ and it now had ’the ability to expand that much faster [and] more than double the size of that support in 2016/17’.

Commenting on the closure of the Raynor Road Medical Centre, NHS England NHS England West Midlands locality director Alastair McIntyre said it was ’aware of the closure of this practice following concerns raised at CQC inspections’ and that it was working with Walsall CCG ’to ensure that alternative arrangements have been made for patients’.

NHS Walsall CCG chair Dr Anand Richie said that ‘practice staff have contacted all patients who were booked in for an appointment and offered them an appointment at the main site at Lockfield Surgery’.

Pulse has contacted Lockfield Surgery and the CQC but neither had commented by the time of publication.

The vulnerable practices fund

money - online

money - online

The General Practice Forward View, published last month, pledged to add another £16m to the initial £10m vulnerable practices fund.

First announced last summer in health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’, NHS England said in December that practices given poor CQC ratings or that were found to have higher-than-average referrals and prescribing ratings would be prioritised for support.

By March, NHS England had formally identified over 800 GP practices as vulnerable as part of its work to allocate £10m worth of support funding.

It found the situation was worst in the North Midlands where 115 practices - more than one fifth (22%) of the total - were identified as struggling.

In the London and South Central (15%) and South West (14%) regions, around a sixth have been identified as practices that could use support funds.

 

Related images

  • Closed - shut door - padlock - doors

Readers' comments (15)

  • WHAT CQC DON'T REALISE IS THAT SO MANY GPs HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE JOB.
    BEING CLOSED DOWN WOULD BE, FOR MANY, A HUGE RELIEF RATHER THAN A PUNISHMENT.
    CQC MISTAKENLY THINK THAT GPs WON'T BE ABLE TO CARRY ON LIVING IF THIS HAPPENS BUT THEY WILL SIMPLY MOVE AWAY FROM THE CRUSHING PRESSURE OF PARTNERSHIP TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF LOCUMING OR LEAVE THE UK ALTOGETHER.

    LET'S SHUT DOWN ALL THE GP PRACTICES, IN FACT LET'S SHUT DOWN THE WHOLE NHS AND LET THE PATIENTS BE SEEN BY THE CQC, THE DAILY MAIL AND JEREMY HUNT (WHO CAN SEE THE PATIENTS AND FIELD THE CALLS FROM NHS 111).

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  • Very well put indeed.
    I don't know what else needs to happen so that we GPs can unite and start saying such statements openly,boldly and publicly?
    If most young trainees leave for Australia and/or Canada, then who is actually going to take over the reins in general practice?

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  • Once again Lots of Talk and consultation fees being paid by the Govt.and NHS but little to no money coming to the front line.

    Why is anyone surprised?

    This is the same across the NHS. Lots of money available for business plans and consultations which have no real value but nothing to provide suitable premises to attract GPs to stay in the business of mending the community in fit for purpose surgery premises. Continued obfuscation by NHS & Government hardly worth discussing really as it is situation normal for this administration.

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  • Another for the legal challenge I feel.

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  • Vulnerable practices may be vulnerable because they have been run badly , not been invested in or not had proper succession planning. I have no knowledge of this practice and am not implying that this is the case here.

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  • Yet another success for the government's strategy of running down the NHS to the point where the public will acquiesce to the whole NHS being turned over to the private sector.

    We can see from Simon Stevens/NHS England's statement that the money was never going to vulnerable practices but rather to private companies who would "support" vulnerable practices - and syphon off a hefty profit in the process.

    Am I being too cynical?

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  • Superbly put. NHS England, the Government and the RCGP talk the talk about supporting General Practice but when it comes down to walking the walk all we get is navel-gazing and non-action and guess what? patients suffer. What an inconvenience to the local CCG!
    Fanciful of me to suggest this but shouldn't the non-elected members of the CQC quangos not only have the courtesy of submitting their personal CVs before visiting a practice and shouldn't they too undergo annual appraisal and five year revalidation to reassure the public and the medical profession that they are actually up to the responsibilities of the job? Like we have to...

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  • To: 11 May 2016 3:11pm

    RCGP is not political although their Board are indeed playing politics. NHSE are simply looking after their interests.
    The ones WE PAY to look after us are the BMA and their sidekicks, the LMCs. These are the really guilty parties for the mess we are in.

    Also, strangely enough, almost all LMC and CCG GPs are rendered super-doctors by the CQC. Is it possible that the "soft intelligence" CCGs pass on to the CQC, is sanitised? Perish the thought!

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  • Adverts are now being placed for individuals who wish to join the visiting teams for the vulnerable practices. Not many takers in our area at least. Hence we,re going to have the same bunch of committee hopping GPs ,practice managers etc who are not fit to run their own practices abdanoning their own practices to spew their nonsensical useless advice to others!

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  • If you have sensible people in the CQC you will get sensible answers. Unfortunately in the UK we do not!

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