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GP practice staff given last-minute Christmas reprieve

A GP practice in Sheffield has been given a last-minute reprieve, after NHS England found a provider to take over from the single-handed GP who is due to retire on 31 December.

Six members of staff at the Westfield Health Centre – five administrative staff and a nurse –  had been presented with redundancy notices for 31 December, the date when Dr Gurcharan Singh Chadha is due to retire.

However, NHS England told Pulse today that it has found a new provider – Danum Medical Services – who will be discussing with staff whether they wish to continue their employment.

But prior to the announcement, staff told Pulse that many were actively looking elsewhere due to the uncertainties.  

A public protest was held to try and keep the practice open, and the NHS local area team began a procurement process which it today said was successful.

Richard Armstrong, director of commissioning (South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw) at NHS England, said: ‘We are pleased to confirm that Danum Medical Services Ltd have been appointed as the new provider of Westfield Health Centre, following Dr Chadha’s retirement.

‘The new provider will take over the contract on 2 January 2015.’

It added: ‘Danum Medical Services Ltd are experienced GP providers who currently offer high-quality GP services to patients in Doncaster, Bassetlaw and Scunthorpe and we are assured that they will continue this good practice in serving the patients at Westfield Health Centre.

‘The new provider will also be discussing with staff whether they wish to continue their employment at Westfield Health Centre under Danum Medical Services Ltd.’

However, speaking to Pulse before the announcement, one staff member said: ‘Some of the girls have applied for things and are waiting to see what happens here. But some of them have offers that they need to confirm by the end of 19 December. But they won’t tell us or the public anything until 22 December.’

It comes as Pulse this year launched the Stop Practice Closures campaign after an investigation revealed that more than 100 practices across England were at risk of closure, while a Pulse survey revealed one in 20 practices were considering closing.