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'Deprived' practice to close as CCG fails to find APMS provider

Health bosses in Newcastle have agreed to close a GP practice in a ‘deprived’ area of the city after a hunt for a provider proved fruitless and warned another closure could be on the cards.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG agreed to close the practice with 3,000 patients at the Ponteland Road Health Centre after the current contract ends in March.

It follows a consultation last year when 97% of patients and stakeholders said they wanted to keep the surgery open.

The CCG’s primary care commissioning committee (PCCC) voted last October to procure a standalone GP practice under an alternative provider medical services (APMS) contract.

It heard concerns from Newcastle-on-Tyne Central MP Chi Onwurah about health outcomes for patients who were reliant on public transport.

However after an unsuccessful attempt to find another provider the CCG ‘made the very difficult decision’ to close the practice at this week’s meeting.

Dr Neil Morris, medical director for NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG said: ’We have made the very difficult decision to close the GP practice at Ponteland Road Health Centre, following our unsuccessful attempt to find anyone to run the service.

’We are disappointed to be in this position, but unfortunately we have been left with no other option.

‘We understand that the practice is highly valued within the community and we have tried our best to keep the practice open. We would like to stress that this decision is not a reflection on the staff who have worked very hard to deliver a high quality service to their patients.’

Another closure could be on the cards as the CCG hunts for a contractor for the Grainger Medical Centre.

It has extended the existing emergency provider contract for until September. The CCG said ‘this will allow us time to undertake an exercise to secure a longer-term provider’.

But Dr Morris added: ’We are doing everything we can to safeguard the service at Grainger Medical Practice, but if we are unable to identify a new provider we may have no other option but to close the practice.

’In the meantime, patients can continue to use the service in the normal way. We have written to all registered patients and will keep them informed over the coming months.’

Last October, the PCCC agreed to close one of the practice’s two locations at the Scotswood GP practice – which is subject to a compulsory purchase order – and retain the surgery at the Elswick Health Centre.

Readers' comments (4)

  • No APMS Provider will take on a 1000 GMS patients weighted to 700 at the GMS rate.
    Did they even consider giving a GMS ~Contract or was it just driving the agenda for privatization.
    The thing to keep in mind is that NHS is going through a volatile if not turbulent phase and any Provider would want certainty that tomorrow the Contract will not be taken off at the whim of a crazy NHS Manager. A GMS Contract gives that security but then Tory agenda of Yankizing the NHS would go down the drain. Better to close Surgeries - Over dead bodies to finish of NHS.

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  • AlanAlmond

    They voted to offer an AMS contract. That was a bad decision and this is the result. ‘We have tried our best to keep the practice open’. If this is ‘your best’ then you shouldn’t be in your jobs. People getting paid wads to make bad decisions, and then claiming they did ‘their best’’s what we have all come to expect. Bad decisions by over paid fools without any feeling of responsibility.

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  • Not sure why it is not being offered to energetic innovative GPs as a PMS or GMS practice. There are GPs who would love an opportunity like this but the APMS process is almost impossible for them. Until we have a system that enables newly qualified GPs, full of energy and passion to take over these practices, we are missing an amazing opportunity. The test should not be can you spend week writing a perfect application form but do you have the skills and passion to run and lead a general practice team.

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  • David Banner

    So who is the current “temporary” contract holder? Presumably it’s not a GMS partnership, so I’d guess there is already an APMS temp contract provider, and they’ve realised there’s not enough profit in it. If it is a GMS partnership then would the CCG make such a song and dance? Or would they turn a blind eye and let the existing partners either bankrupt themselves leaving, or work themselves to death? It would be interesting to know.

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