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Practices forced to re-open patient lists after closure of neighbouring surgery

GP practices in one area have had to re-open their practice lists, which were temporarily closed to new patients, to absorb over 7,000 patients that are set to be displaced by a practice closure.

Arun Medical Group’s Littlehampton branch will close on 31 October, with NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG set to disperse its 7,070 patients registered across neighbouring practices, despite these already being under pressure themselves.

The CCG said it will write to patients to ask them to register at neighbouring practices, after these 'agreed' to lift their temporary list closures to accommodate them.

Arun Medical Group’s GP partners gave formal notice that they were handing back their contract in May 2016 and the CCG had been considering options until reached the decision earlier this week not to attempt to re-tender the contract.

Sarah Henley, head of primary care at NHS West Sussex CCG said: ‘It is a difficult time for general practice in Arun and we are working very closely with the existing practices in Littlehampton and surrounding area to ensure they have the support and mechanisms in place to take on the additional patients from Arun Medical Group.

'GP practices in Arun have temporarily closed their lists but I can confirm that practices have agreed to open them.'

Arun Medical Group’s GP partners said that closing had been a difficult decision and they 'truly wished' that they had 'been able to find a way to stay open' but they were left with no choice but to close due to recruitment woes.

They said in a statement: ‘Like many GP practices all over the UK we have struggled to recruit new GPs and with the increase in demand for GP services in Littlehampton we just don’t have enough doctors to safely provide the high level of quality care patients are used to.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said: 'The local CCG must ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to the remaining practices – and that they invest properly in them to ensure they have the capacity to expand and meet the needs of the patient population they are now serving.'

He added: 'It also shows how the promises NHS England has made in the GP Forward View can’t wait five years to be realised, they have to start that investment flow now because if they don’t make those savings now it will cost them more in the long run.'

Pulse has been calling for urgent funding and support to be made available to support practices on the brink with it’s Stop Practice Closures campaign. 

Though it has come too late for many practices, NHS England has since reocognised more than 800 practices are in crisis and Jeremy Hunt announced a vulnerable practice fund last year.

This was overhauled in the GP Forward View and relaunched this month with a £16m funding pot this year, and without a previous requirement for practices to match NHS England's investment.


Readers' comments (13)

  • Congratulations to Jeremy and his bulldogs in NHSE, another one out of the way. GPC should self destruct taking with it all the LMCs and BMA who have colluded in being passive and fearful of active intervention. WT* do we think about when electing our representatives?

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  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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  • It is most unfortunate that the neighbouring practices have agreed to take cancel their list closures and take on these patients. It is not their job to save the world or the NHS. What they have done is let the NHS wriggle out of its problems and dump them on those practices to sort and to suffer. This lets jeremy hunt pretend there is no problem. Quite frankly, very stupid of them.

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  • Couldn't agree with Practice manager @ 8.46 any more.
    We should be telling NHS England that we cannot accept any more patient & it is their duty to make arrangement to provide health service to patient. If you are overstretched and cant find a GP to cater for these extra patients then you are putting yourself at risk. If we make clinical mistake NHS England is not going to pardon/protect us saying ,these doctors have been so good and accommodating,they made mistake because they are overstretched. Lets pardon them. You will be in front of GMC and face all the consequences. CCG/ NHSE/ Jeremy hunt no body will save you.

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  • @sanjeev juneja

    keep fighting!! I for one appreciate your honesty in highlighting the blatant corruption and discrimination you face. People like yourself and Dr Una coales (another hero who for years has highlighted corruption and subjective bias in this sordid system) make us proud as you dont conform with the usual silence that has allowed the profession to rot over the past few years

    watching you closely from abroad and still waiting for you to say its finished!

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  • Those practices that opened their lists again have betrayed all GPs. If they can take on extra patients now, then they had no good reason to have closed their lists in the first place. What they have done is prove to everyone outside General practice that GPs complaining about workload, and applying to close their lists, are just lazy and crying wolf. I am utterly fed up of GPs failing to see the big picture, failing to see the consequences of their short term selfish behaviours, and thus betraying the profession over and over again.

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  • 2.22pm. So brave of you to attack someone under attack and whose life is falling apart. Such compassion! You should be proud of yourself. Obviously you are in the right job as you seem to have the right resiliant attitude for those left standing in the NHS.

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  • Sanjeev @3.01 pm

    Sadly the whole world in all jobs is full of corruption and fights for power. It will probably never change. Throughout history it has always been the same. The higher up one goes (Directors, CEO's..) the more there is. A sizeable proportion also have psychopathic tendencies...power, control over others (even enjoying others downfall) and money..

    I have only realised this in the past few years. So forget about there ever being a peaceful, mutually loving and sharing world. If this happens it will only be for a short period before the shit starts to rise to the top again.

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  • Anonymous | Other healthcare professional20 Aug 2016 9:37am

    Thanks, I am in the right job - able to judge objectively based on facts rather then tainted wild assumptions and be able to look for solution and adapt rather then using my negative personal experience as basis of failure.

    So I guess you guys are in the "wrong job" by your recogning then :)

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  • Thanks to those supporting me.
    A year or so ago, I agreed to support a GP colleague who had conditions put on his registration. This involved supervising the colleague for a certain period and being physically present in the Surgery for any support and to analyze each consultation after the sessions. I was happy to do this for free and signed the commitment and forgot about it.
    A few months later, I applied to close my list and got a response from NHSE that my application was rejected and I should concentrate on my work and not support the Doctor. Evidently, NHSE wanted struck off. The response left me gobsmacked ! I still did not resign and gave them a piece of my mind about it being regrettable that they were linking these issues.
    I understand that this GP colleague has now left the profession because probably nobody dared to supervise against the will of NHSE .
    Not going into assumptions or presumptions whether this GP was good or bad or what had gone wrong, the GMC wanted to give our colleague a chance which was never given.
    Who's going to be next in need of our support and will we stand by colleagues? Where were all the LMC and CCG leaders?
    I have had the luck to go through an intensive year long leadership course with CLN and further been recommended and attended a 6 month Course for BMEs. I had the best trainers the NHS has and come in contact with some inspirational top NHS leaders. Unfortunately, when you come to the local level, you wonder where all this leadership training gets lost and the basic quality which is instilled into future leaders - Integrity- vaporizes under pressure from the establishment.
    This is what needs to change. A confrontational attitude is not the way forward but assertive opposition to things that are wrong will be dubbed confrontational behavior.
    The Discovery channel will show you that even smaller creatures pushed to the extremes begin to fight for survival and they are able to leave the opponent exposed and scarred. We are human and have something called self-respect, it's harder for us to go down on our knees.

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