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5,000-patient practice to close and be replaced by APMS contract

The partners of a practice with a growing patient population of over 5,000 has become the latest to fold to pressures and resign their contract.

The three partners at the Northville Family Practice in the Filton area of Bristol have informed NHS England that they will resign as holders of the practice’s PMS contract with effect from 14 January.

NHS England told Pulse that it is currently hunting for a new management team to take over the practice, currently counting 5,331 patients on its list, under an interim APMS contract from that date onwards.

NHS England said this was likely to run for one year while it consults on a long-term solution for GP provision in the area, where a major housing development is expected to increase the local population by ’thousands’ within the next few years.

The practice partners declined to comment but Avon LMC chair Dr Simon Bradley said he believed their resignation was linked to financial pressures and recruitment problems.

NHS England South West medical contract manager Caroline Stead said: ’We’re absolutely committed to providing local people with high quality GP services.

’In the short term, it will be business as usual for patients while we quickly find a new interim management team and then oversee a seamless handover to them.

’We will then be looking at talking to local people about the types of services they need for the longer term.’

Patients in Filton are the latest to lose their local GPs amid scores of partners resigning their contracts due to dwindling funding and a national recruitment crisis.

A Pulse investigation carried out earlier this year found that more than 160,000 patients across the UK were displaced as a result of their practice closing in just two years.

Pulse has been lobbying NHS England to make emergency funding available to struggling practices via the Stop Practice Closures campaign for over a year.

The GPC recently also demanded that NHS England steps in to prevent GPs from having to resign their contracts, suggesting practices should be able to declare ’major incidents’ and gain access to emergency funding similar to A&E departments.

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, published last year, suggested that a significantly larger proportion of NHS funding should be diverted to general practice but the GPC has accused the Government of being ‘distracted’ from dealing with the real issues faced by general practice, focusing instead on its political manifesto commitment of seven-day appointments.