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GP practice contract terminated for second time in two years

A practice in Bridlington is facing closure after providers terminated the contract for the second time in two years.

Field House Surgery is currently run by One Medical Group, which is terminating its current contract on 1 January 2017. The practice applied for vulnerable practices funding this year but has not received any support from NHS England.

The group was struggling to recruit and said ‘The shortage of GPs and nurses in the wider area and nationally is not a new issue and we have raised our concerns about the staffing to our local commissioners on many occasions’.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP representative for Yorkshire and Humberside, told Pulse that this is the second time in two years the contract has been handed back – it was previously run by other contractors. One Medical Group took over the contract two years ago.

Although the CCG is looking for an alternative provider, the future of the practice is unclear at present.

A spokesperson for One Medical Group said: ’We are in advanced conversations with a local provider about transitioning Field House to them and are working with NHS England and this provider on a timely handover to ensure an orderly solution for patients and staff. In the interim, our practice team are working extremely hard to continue providing a safe service to our patients.’

They added that, supported by the CCG, it had submitted a bid for the vulnerable practice fund to NHS England in April this year, which had ‘included a new multidisciplinary team approach to address the shortage of GPs in the area’.

The spokesperson said: ”We have also strived to work with local practices and are a member of the BridInc federation, however they too are under significant pressure and no workable solutions have been forthcoming.

‘It is with regret that despite all of these efforts and a recognition of the pressure the practice is under, the political and economic landscape for healthcare services in Bridlington and nationally has made it impossible for us to continue to deliver a sustainable service for patients.’

NHS England has moved to reassure patients that an alternative provider will be found. Heather Marsh, Head of Primary Care Co-commissioning at NHS England (North Yorkshire and the Humber) said: ‘The current service provider’s contract to deliver GP services at the Field House Surgery in Bridlington will come to an end on the 31st December 2016 and a new interim service provider will be in place from that date.

‘We want to reassure patients that services will be maintained for the long term and no one will go without GP services after the present provider has left the practice. We will keep patients informed throughout the process.’

The CCG’s reassurance comes after Dr Kasaraneni said that the practice closing would ‘be a disaster for the area, with 6,500 patients left without their current GP service’.

He said: ’It is a symptom of a wider crisis affecting Yorkshire and Humberside, as well as the rest of the country, as general practice buckles under the pressure of rising patient demand, contracting budgets and staff shortages.’

He added that a recent survey by the BMA showed that ’at least 300 GP practices throughout England could close, with 15 of these located in the North East’.

Dr Kasaraneni said: ‘NHS managers need to do everything they can to rectify the mess that now faces Bridlington following this announcement.

’They need to ensure patients are not left without access to a local GP. More widely, the Government must implement its promised increased in funding immediately before more GP practices close their doors.’