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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Former GP principal stopped from saving practice due to 'procurement laws'

A GP surgery in Richmond has had to close after NHS England rejected a senior doctor’s offer to take charge of the practice in place of the departing GP principal because of procurement processes.  

Deanhill Surgery in East Sheen shut its doors on 31 March despite a campaign from patients and staff in which a former partner offered to save the practice by running it himself.

Dr Antoine Sayer, the GP principal at the practice, told NHS England in January that he wanted to terminate his contract.

Patients were then sent letters saying that the practice would close within a month. A reprieve was granted in February but it proved temporary.

In a separate development, the practice was placed in special measures by the CQC on 5 March.

Dr Roger Weeks, who was the sole principal contractor at the surgery from 1992 to 2012 and who postponed his retirement in 2011 when the practice had faced a previous threat of closure, told the Richmond and Twickenham Times that he believed about 1,000 of the practice’s 1,900 patients were not registered with another GP.

He said that the medical records of around 1,000 patients who were not registered with another GP could not be transferred without access to the practice’s computer, which he said had been ‘seized’ by NHS England.

He added: ‘It is extremely serious in the way they have been let down by NHS England. I think NHS England could have done things they said they couldn’t do.’

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) said: ‘NHS England consulted with patients on the options for the surgery including the findings of the recently published CQC report on the services delivered from the Deanhill Surgery. NHS England has to follow procurement process when awarding contracts and it was not possible to consider the existing salaried GPs holding the contract without a tender process which would take between 6-9 months to conclude.’

Defending the closure, the spokesman added: ‘Many patients have registered with neighbouring practices. There are five neighbouring practices, all within a 1.2 mile radius of the former surgery premises. Patient records have been removed for safe-keeping and will be transferred to patients’ new GP practices when they have re-registered.’

It comes after Pulse revealed last year that NHS England had said all new GP contracts will be opened up to competition in a move that GP leaders warned marked the ‘death-knell’ of traditional life-long general practice.

Pulse’s Stop Practice Closures campaign last month revealed there had been a 500% annual increase in the numbers of practices asking NHS England for information on potentially closing or merging.

Readers' comments (12)

  • Vinci Ho

    Evil of section 75

    The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom

    John Locke

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  • Idiots....

    This will put an unacceptable amount of strain on nearby practices. That of course if of no concern to NHS England who do not care about anyone or anything other than pointless rules.

    Passing this to the new contractor is no different to that contractor entering a partnership with the previous contractor then the previous contractor resigning - except that the old contractor pays redundancy pay - so not affecting NHSE at all.

    Of course allowing that to happen is not in keeping with the national campaign to close smaller practices and NHSE would probably already have pocketed the money set aside for this practice's premises.

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  • Back handed deals immanent. Procurement is the dirtiest word in the NHS. The ultimate goal of wiping this practice out was achieved. Best wishes to the staff future. Your work has been appreciated by us GPs.

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  • If the unbearable and over the top demand from patients doesn't close a number of GP practices....don't worry there is always the CQC or NHSE! Double jeopardy does exist but only for doctors. There is no GMC equivalent to send NHSE or the CQC to for the total harm they are causing to patient care.

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  • There was never any democratic mandate for the Health and Social Care Act so how on earth did we end up in a situation that GPs choosing the best option for local primary care services is illegal? Section 75 is pushing statute law to the limits of credibility whilst the Prime Minister has the gall to claim that his government does not have an anti GP agenda! GPs should be campaigning hard for this ghastly piece of legislation to be repealed ASAP. Privatizing the NHS via the back door is immoral.

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  • Get smart folks - the way to do it is to make them a partner, and them the existing partner resigns.

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  • Agree with anonymous above, also there are other possibilities - mergers, partnering with other organisations etc. Giving the contract back was always going to result in either tender or list dispersal - these are the only options NHSE have.

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  • sounds far more to this than the article covers

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  • There may be less than appears to this. My experience of NHS England is that they quote the regulations at you and then completely ignore ignore every regulation known to man when it suits them. NHS England speaks with very very forked tongue. Do not believe what they tell you

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  • NHSE is the government tool to push for privatization and Cameron and his government are keeping aloof trying to deny they have anything to do with this.
    Can't believe that the powers to be are impotent and can't stop NHSE from privatizing and giving APMS contracts whenever the situation arises.

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