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PMS practice suffering £400k cuts to be taken over by Virgin Care

A practice losing £400,000 worth of funding in its PMS contract review is to be taken over by Virgin Care.

As revealed by Pulse, all of the partners at the ‘outstanding’-rated Sutherland Lodge Surgery in Chelmsford, Essex, opted to resign in light of the PMS review concluding that practice funding should reduce by 30% in two years.

NHS England said Virgin Care will take on the contract for the 12,000-patient practice from 1 July, while the premises are ‘being purchased by a property investment company’ acting as landlord.

The practice, which has existed for 110 years and is one of the largest in Chelmsford, will remain at the same site.

NHS England said that although the change may be ‘unsettling’ for some patients, Virgin Care has a ‘strong track record’ of delivering GP services.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are pleased to announce that Virgin Care Services has been identified as the preferred bidder to provide medical services for GP registered patients from the Sutherland Lodge Surgery from Friday 1 July 2016.

‘We are aware that this change of provider may be unsettling for patients, some of whom have been with the practice for many years, and we are working with the existing practice staff to ensure there will be minimal disruption to patients’ medical services during the transition and they will continue to have access to the same services as they do currently.’

Three of the four partners resigning the contract will continue working as locum or part-time GPs in the local area but none will continue working for the new contract-holder.

In a message to patients published on the practice website, the partners asked patients to bear with the remaining support staff while they got used to the ‘quite different’ version of the practice.

They added: ‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your kind thoughts and sterling support during these past six months. We had hoped to all be retiring from here as a natural process, but as you are aware this is not to be the case.’

NHS England said it will be writing to patients to confirm the change.

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