This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

The docbot will see you now

Patient campaigners lose fight to save local GP practice

Nearly 3,000 patients will be forced to register with a new GP as their practice will close next year despite a long campaign to save it.

The future of the Fens Medical Centre, which will shut its doors in March 2017, had been subject to an eight-week public consultation into which of three local APMS-contracted practices would have to close because of CCG funding constraints.

The CCG said in a statement that it will ‘work with patients to ensure they are fully aware of next steps and who to contact for further advice’.

Karen Hawkins, the CCG’s associate director of commissioning and delivery, said it had to make sure services are sustainable for patients.

She said: ‘We take our duty really seriously and sometimes we have to consult and engage on options that aren’t necessarily welcome.

‘We haven’t gone for what is the most financially viable option, we have taken patients views into account before a decision has been taken.’

The consultation had three options: one provider at Fens and Wynyard Road, one provider at Hartfields and Wynyard Road and one provider at Wynyard Road only.

The first two options were equally supported by 36.8% of respondents, while option one had slightly more opposition than option two.

In making its decision, the CCG said it considered ‘health inequalities in the area and proposed new housing developments that may mean an increase in patients who need to register with a GP practice’.

The Fens Residents Association, which has been disputing proposals to reduce services since 2014, said the outcome is ‘very distressing’ for patients in Hartlepool as the area ‘has one of the worst ratios of GPs to patients in the country’.

Robert Smith, chairman of the association, said: 'Both Fens Medical Practice and Hartfields Medical Practice were introduced a few years ago because there was a definite need for them.

'The approach the NHS was taking not so long ago was to make primary care local, so this is very much an about turn in their policy.’


Readers' comments (7)

  • Another domino falls.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Only the appraisers and CCG member practices will survive

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The business model for General Practice is not fit for purpose. It is impossible to make a profit when income is essentially fixed and costs and demand rise inexorably. The corner shop model is no longer attractive financially to anyone but has been the backbone of the NHS. Our Pharmacy colleagues are facing even great cuts and many more will fold than GP's. People have forgotten that the taxpayer is meant to pay for their care. If the people controlling the tax funds don't value the provision and aren't willing to pay, market forces means it will disappear only to be replaced by a much more expensive alternative.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The CCGs are failing to recruit replacement doctors because of their shortage of funds. The CCGs are additionally commercially incompetent because they think a private firm will be able to make a profit where a GP cannot. Commissioning has increased the administration charge on the NHS budget from the 5% when I started in 1970 up to 15-30% and surely this money could be put to better use such as training and recruiting more doctors and nurses, shortening waiting times and improving the care of the patients?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hi Joe
    In my opinion the model is still a good one, it is just grossly underfunded.
    If any of the STPs I have seen ever do happen then that will be the death knell of GPs, the underfunded transfer of hospital work to GPs would cripple us.
    We need to make sure that CCG executives know they cannot approve STPs that increase GP workload.
    Time for the CCG membership to start controlling the executives, not the other way round. The CCG is after all a membership organisation, for now!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I suggest that if the CCG closes down your GP Practices, investigate the possibility of running them yourselves. This is what Nye Bevan did. He collected subscriptions from the population so that they could consult a GP or be treated in the Hospital free of charge when this was necessary. Form a Co-op and employ some doctors yourselves?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What they really want is fro all GP's to be under the thumb in NHS properties with the hope that they will then do as they are told!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say