A GP practice in Witney, ex-Prime Minister David Cameron’s old constituency, is set to close on 31 March 2017.
The contract was held by Virgin Care under an APMS contract, and due to expire in November, but they will continue running the practice until March to give the three other practices in Witney, Oxfordshire, time to recruit more staff to cope with the extra patients.
The closure was confirmed last month.
NHS Oxfordshire CCG tendered for a new contract in March, and said in a statement: ‘Despite offering the contract at a significantly higher price than that paid to other practices in Oxfordshire, only one bid was received and, following evaluation, OCGG was not able to award a contract.’
The statement also said: ‘We would like to make it clear that closing the practice was not what OCCG would have chosen had other options been available.’
Most of 4,400 patients of Deer Park Medical centre will be able to register at one of the three other Witney local practices, once they have recruited more staff, and all patients would be able to register with one of the nine West Oxfordshire practices, according to the CCG.
The CCG has also asked the local GP federation to increase appointments at the local hub (providing urgent appointments) and increase the number of home visits available.
According to the CCG: ‘This will mean that practices can respond to patients’ needs swiftly but also have some breathing space to prepare for new registrations. OCCG will also be providing support to practices in recruiting GPs and nurses to meet the growing demand.’
Dr Paul Roblin, CEO of Birmingham, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMC, said: ’The contract is APMS and I gather the funding formula would be the same as in GMS. As I have said many times, practices struggle to survive when the contract price is around £142 per patient per year for an average of six consultations per patient; ie a year of GP care costs about the same as one hospital outpatient appointment.’
The CCG has told patients not to move practices until they receive further news in the new year.
This follows other practice closures in Oxfordshire, with the North Bicester surgery in Oxfordshire closing on 30 September, leaving the partners with a £800,000 potential liability and an 18,000 patient practice in Banbury handing back its contract in September.
Pulse’s Stop Practice Closures campaign has raised awareness about the problems caused for neighbouring practices when practices close.