Five threatened practices in Brighton and Hove have been given a lifeline, as the company running them has agreed to provide services past its notice period to allow NHS England to make other arrangements.
As reported in Pulse, The Practice Group handed back the joint contract for the five practices – covering around 11,400 patients in total – in January after it faced funding cuts of up to 20% in a PMS review.
One of the practices is specifically for homeless people, with a patient list of 1,400.
According to Brighton and Hove news, the Practice Group – which was originally terminating the contract in June – will continue to provide care at three of the practices until September, will stay in another practice until November and won’t pull out of the homeless practice until the end of January 2017.
NHS England said: ’At our request The Practice Group has agreed to continue providing services at each of the surgeries beyond their required notice period.
’This is to make sure we have as much time as possible to put in place new care arrangements for patients and to ensure a smooth transition for them across each of the five surgery sites.’
NHS England said it was committed to keeping the practice for homeless people open.
The spokesperson added: ’We recognise the specialist service provided by the Brighton Homeless Healthcare surgery and how this is valued by the local community so the NHS will be reprocuring a dedicated service for this vulnerable patient group.’
However, the future for the other practices is less certain.
They added: ‘We need to do some further checks to make sure we can get the right solution for patients who use the four other affected surgeries and will update patients about this as soon as we can.’
Brighton and Hove news reported that the threatened practices were discussed at an NHS England panel meeting on 1 March, but no-one in the meeting ’has given any public indication’ that four of the threatened practices would stay open.
A further panel meeting to discuss the future of these practices will be held on 25 April.
Stop Practice Closures
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As part of the Stop Practice Closures campaign, Pulse has revealed that 200,000 patients were displaced when their practice folded last year
This month, the BMA revealed that a survey of 2,830 practices found that 294 practices (10%) regard themselves as financially unsustainable within the next year.
Meanwhile, NHS England formally identified over 800 GP practices as vulnerable as part of its work to allocate £10m worth of support funding