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Independents' Day

Practice set to close as GP says he was 'forced to retire'

A practice in the north of England is set to close after a partner claims he was ‘forced to retire’ by NHS managers, despite patients launching a campaign to keep the practice open.

The Cauvery Medical Practice in Scunthorpe will close on 31 October after its two GPs retired following a performance review of the practice by NHS England.

One of the GPs, Dr Shambhu, told the Scunthope Telegraph that he was ‘forced to retire’ and that he wanted to carry on practicing without being under scrutiny.

Following the resignation in July of Dr Shambhu and Dr Ratna Ugargol opting to leave next month, NHS England wrote a letter to patients informing them that the practice will be closing – leaving 3,700 patients without a GP.  

Dr Shambhu told the Scunthope Telegraph: ‘I did not elect to retire, I was forced to retire. I want the people of Scunthorpe and my patients to know the truth. I was going to go in April 2016, and by that time, I would reach 70.’

In August, Unison’s Scunthorpe Health Branch launched a campaign to prevent the closure of the practice. Julian Corlett, a patient of the practice and leader of the campaign, said NHS England made ‘no steps to engage with patients.’

He added: ‘There was no intention to engage with patients apart from the letter sent to patients informing them of closure. We expected NHS England to talk to patients about the situation; what we do now with practice.

‘From the start nothing was going to derail their decision to close the practice, and I believe they made no attempt to replace the GPs. It goes against the principle of the NHS constitution. There is no transparency.’

Practice manager at the Cauvery Medical Practice, Mandy Smith, said NHS England told Dr Shambhu to ‘go now or we will take this further.’

She told Pulse: ‘Dr  Shambhu’s retirement stemmed from a performance review by NHS England. They required him to take up-to-date training and he wasn’t prepared to do that, as he didn’t want NHS England on his back.

‘They considered him to be old fashioned in his way of doctoring and in so many words they said go now or we will take this further.’

According to the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Manby Road surgery in the town will also close on 1 October following a patient consultation. NHS England said the that the practice’s building was no longer fit for purpose in delivering clinical services, and sessions will subsequently be delivered at a nearby practice.

A spokesperson for NHS England, North Yorkshire and Humber said: ‘We are committed to ensuring patients receive both high quality and safe primary medical care services. This is often supported by clinical performance reviews of GP practices.

‘We have undertaken a performance review with the GPs at the Cauvery Medical Practice. As a result of this Dr Shambhu chose to retire with immediate effect in July and resign from the GMC register also with immediate effect. Dr Ugargol will retire at the end of October 2014.’ 

The impending practice closures come as Pulse has launched its Stop Practice Closures campaign, which among other areas seeks to highlight the problems caused when practices are allowed to close.

Readers' comments (15)

  • What have the neighbouring practices had to say about this? Are they going to be able to cope with the increase in patient numbers?

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    2 practices closed in Gosport. Local provider offering a salaried GP post for £145k as cannot find GPs.

    Predict more women GPs will be leaving medicine...have a read of

    Predict early burnout for new doctors once the £83k-£100k student loans kick in and reality strikes that they will have to repay at 10% of income above £21k x up to 30 years!

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Correction repay at 9% of income each year above £21k income.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    There is yet another plan B...the drop out club and changing careers altogether...from GP partner to running a hair salon with paying customers!

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  • A few years ago there was this article about lawyers switching to plumbing. Now, plumbing is a bit too harsh for a Doctor's soft hands but hair dressing ? - yes - an exclusinve salon and clients for cash. True Una, maybe it's something to think of. Let the Hunt continue for new GPs who would be willing to tow the govt line with a heavy anchor at the other end.

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  • quite possibly NHS England have the interests of patients at heart in persuading GPs to retire when the GP refuses to engage in training

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  • hire a couple of physician assistants and do email consultations.


    Who needs GPs really, right?

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Disclaimer initially - I do not know the circumstances of this particular case and my comments are general.
    Before we get all steamed up about NHS England and their heavy hand, should we not be thinking about the duty of a doctor to keep up to date?
    It is not in the patients' interests to be treated by a doctor who will not accept that their knowledge may be outdated and who will not engage in education.
    Sadly, there is a tiny proportion of GPs who do not keep up to date - I for one was taught at medical school that it is our basic responsibility to do so. Otherwise I would still be refusing beta blockers to patients with heart failure and not anticoagulating patients with AF, to mention just a couple of changes over the years.

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  • It is not a case of the doctors rights not to learn but the patients rights to access a practice, 'no decision about me without me' remember! NHS Bungland had a duty to the patients to keep a practice open, their get ouit clause is that the premises was not upto standard well i'm sure we all know a practice on our patch that isn't so will they force them to close to save cash - its less of a vote loser for their paymasters than removing your granny from the practice list! no consultation with patient's prior to closure! NHS england is more important than the patients - whoever thought we could ever get patient focussed care into the NHS? When nameless, faceless (or maybe they have more than one face?), organisations make all the decisions! Stevens making good his intentions to hand over primary care to his previous / future employers?

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  • God help patients of single handed elderly GPs who don't keep up to date.
    It's hard enough covering for a failing retirement refusenik in a larger practice.
    Well done NHSE. It's about time they got something right.

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