An ICB has been threated with legal action over its decision to close a 2,800-patient GP practice in Liverpool.
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside has informed patients at Park View Medical Centre, in Tuebrook, in North-East Liverpool, that their practice will be closing at the end of July.
It has now received a letter threatening judicial review proceedings over the decision.
Last year, the ICB ran a procurement process for the practice’s APMS contract, which was due to expire on 31 March, but failed to find a new provider.
Patients have signed a petition to oppose the closure and the practice’s patient participation group has held public meetings to voice their concerns.
A spokesperson for the ICB told Pulse: ‘We were unable to secure a new provider to run Park View Medical Centre, so the decision was made to disperse patients to other local GP practices at the end of the contract term, subject to a short-term extension to enable safe transfer of patients.
‘We have written to all registered patients to inform them that the practice will be closing by the end of July, and that they will be transferred to another nearby practice, as there are 10 practices within a one-mile radius of the Park View site.
‘We have recently received a letter about a proposed claim for a judicial review, which has been responded to and we are awaiting any further responses.’
It is unclear who is threatening legal action and Pulse has asked the ICB for clarification.
In a statement on its website, the practice said: ‘NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is now talking to other local GP practices about arrangements for patients to transfer across to them.
‘There are a range of other GP practices located within a mile of Park View Medical Centre, so we are confident that all patients will still be able to access GP services close to where they live – just as they do now.’
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the surgery building, is considering selling the property within the next one or two years, which means GP services cannot be contracted to run from the building in the longer term.
Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, called for the ICB to ‘look at every option available’ to stop the closure.
Mr Byrne said: ‘Park View medical centre is under threat of closure – at a time when GP surgeries are under intense pressure and people are struggling to get appointments, the last thing we need in our community is a GP surgery to close.
‘So I’m calling on the ICB to look at all options that are on the table, and revisit the position that they are now in, which is to close the medical centre.’
Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Manchester found that practice closures are linked with reduced patient satisfaction with services at the surviving practices, which end up having more patients, as well as proportionally less GPs and funding.