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Independents' Day

GP partners in premises lease dispute told they can’t close branch practice

GPs running a practice in Cardiff have been told they can’t close a branch surgery, despite being locked in a dispute with the landlord of the premises.

In a message to patients, the Pontprennau Medical Centre, had explained it had made the ‘difficult decision’ to apply to close one of its two sites based in Pentwyn.

‘The practice have a number of concerns over the continued running of the branch surgery, including but not limited to the condition of the building, leasing arrangements and accessibility issues,’ a statement said.

But the application has been turned down by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which has ruled the partners should resolve a dispute with the landlord via a third party or find another location in the area for their practice.

Patients have campaigned to save the St David’s Medical Centre branch surgery after concerns about longer waiting times for appointments and patients having to travel further to the other site.

The practice had reassured patients it would provide a ‘full range of services’ at its main site in Pontprennau.

Aside from the health board, the closure application was also opposed by local NHS watchdog the Cardiff and Vale Community Health Council, because the reason behind it was a contract dispute with the landlord.

The Local Democracy Service reported that Joe Carter, the Pentwyn representative on Cardiff council, said that they would wait to see how the GP partners responded.

‘If they truly don't want to run this centre the contract should be given back to the health board to find alternative doctors who will run it,’ he said.

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: ‘The GMS Panel met yesterday to consider an application from the practice to close the St David Medical Centre which is a branch surgery of Pontprennau Medical Centre.  

‘The panel did not uphold the application to close St David.  

‘The panel agreed that senior primary, community and intermediate care staff and specialist estates expertise would provide support to the practice to fulfil its expressed intention to remain at Pentwyn.’


Readers' comments (7)

  • I'm new to this country, so can someone explain like I'm 5 years old. A GP surgery headed by partners decided to close a "branch" of their practice (which is a normal business decision), and that was turned down? Is this normal?

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  • Ninja doc
    He contract for that surgery includes providing a branch surgery.
    If they want to renegotiate the contract they need an agreement, it can’t be one sided.

    In this case though the partners should give notice to close the entire surgery (which they can do unilaterally); they will suddenly find the health board is much more cooperative when faced with the massive bill of running the practice directly.

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  • Obiwan, definitely agree. The welsh boards are finding that gms practices are cheaper to run than when they run them so it's in their interest to be a little less dictatorial. Maybe they should provide the surgery with an cheap loan so they can purchase their own property. This is the problem again for gms partner surgeries - monopoly contract; we take all the business risk but have little autonomy.

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  • ‘If they truly don't want to run this centre the contract should be given back to the health board to find alternative doctors who will run it,’ he said.

    Good luck with that...

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  • Cobblers

    Don't close it start using the mealy mouthed utterances typical of the healthcare admindroid.

    "Suspend the service" in the branch surgery "Subject to satisfactory negotiations" with the landlord. On query by the GMS committee say that this is NOT a closure, more a temporary hiatus in provision and that normal service may well be brought back in due course.

    All patients wanting the branch surgery should be directed to the main surgery.

    If admindroids come the heavy on you then suggest such behaviour to be destabilising and that continuance of said might result in the main surgery closing too.

    A game of medical chicken. And they have no backing for their position and they know it.

    There ain't no GP tree especially in Wales.

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  • The GP tree in the UK has been professionally weed-killed and has terminal die-back.So there is going to be an awful lot more games of medical chicken being played.

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  • Ninjadoc, you are only just experiencing the tip of NHS bureaucracy. Other problems are complaints, appraisals, GMC looks at everything you do even if it is non medical, problems with GDPR, notes by Capita, you pension con, expensive defence union cover, CQC etc. The list is endless. One suggestion is get out while you still can from the toxic UK environment but if you do stay, thank you for helping and sharing the burden. I am too old to emigrate so I am just waiting for the pension.

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