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Patients protest GP contract termination and practice relocation

Patients protest GP contract termination and practice relocation

Patients in Staffordshire have protested the termination of their GP practice’s contract and the relocation of services to two new sites.

Last month, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB terminated its contract with GP partners at Gordon Street Surgery due to ‘inadequate’ CQC rating and the partners’ inability ‘to deliver sustained improvements’. 

The ICB appointed a new provider, but was unable to retain the original building which had served the practice’s 10,600 patients. 

At the end of last month, 100 local residents gathered outside the Gordon Street building to protest the ICB’s alleged failure to consult with the public.

Patient and organiser Fatima Tabassum said the proposed change ‘is not welcomed’ as residents ‘fear a decline in the quality of care’, particularly for those with ‘limited access to transportation’ or those who are disabled or bedbound. 

More protests took place on Wednesday and Friday last week, with patients calling for the old GP contract to be reinstated. 

On Wednesday, the local Labour councillors attended the protests, saying patients ‘feel they have been misled by the ICB’ and ‘left without a surgery in their local area’.

The Network Practice of East Staffordshire Primary Care Network (PCN) has been appointed as the new provider for the next 12 months while the ICB explores a ‘longer-term solution’.

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On the GP practice’s ‘inadequate’ CQC ratings, the ICB told patients: ‘The former contract holders have been unable to demonstrate an ability to deliver sustained improvements. As such, contract termination was considered necessary, given the performance of the practice over a period of several years, as is evidenced by its CQC position.’

The ICB has said a decision to relocate was made at ‘short notice’ because the Gordon Street Surgery premises is owned privately and not by the NHS. 

‘We were hoping to be able to continue using the current building. Unfortunately, that has not proven possible, and so we had to secure alternative premises at very short notice,’ local commissioners explained.

In response to criticism about the lack of public consultation, the ICB said that engaging with patients ‘would have delayed the process and led to a gap in care, which is not acceptable’.

‘This was an urgent situation where the ICB was required to find a caretaker provider and secure alternative premises within a very short period of time to ensure the continuation of patient care.’

At the moment, patients cannot attend either of the new sites without ringing the practice first, in order to ‘ensure a smooth transition’ while they become ‘more established’. 

Last month, patients at a surgery in Lancashire fundraised over £7,000 to pay a professional bid writer to help their GP keep her APMS contract.

The current GP partners and her patients had been protesting the ICB’s decision to put the contract out to a competitive re-tender.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 13 May, 2024 5:58 pm

Can ICB do this if it is GMS?
Can partners sue CQC for losing them their contract?