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Practice set to close after GP principal resigns over ‘silly’ CCG meetings

A GP principal in East London has been forced to quit over the local CCG not being able to provide staff cover while sending him to ‘silly’ meetings, leading to the closure of a local practice. 

Abney House Medical Centre in Hackney will close in October and 2,700 patients will have to relocate to one of the 15 other practices in the area. The CCG stated surrounding practices in a one-mile radius have been made aware of the situation and will accept patients from Abney House. 

The practice’s GP principal, Dr Luke Salih, said recent years have been particularly demanding for him because of ‘onerous additional tasks’ that do not benefit his patients.

Dr Salih told the Hackney Gazette‘I am resigning because of a complete inability to find staff to take my place while the CCG has me running around going to silly meetings.’

Confirming his resignation to Pulse, Dr Salih said: ‘It has been a great privilege to be part of my patients’ lives during my decades running the practice, but workload pressures have increased greatly over recent years, particularly demanding for me to perform onerous additional tasks which I do not feel are of direct benefit to my patients.

‘We have now reached the point where the practice team and I cannot sustain this workload alone and have not been able to recruit additional staff, or agree a reduction in these extra services we are being asked to provide by the NHS.

‘I would like to thank my patients for their kind words over recent days, but I must encourage them to register with nearby practices as we begin the process of winding-up Abney House Medical Centre.’

NHS City and Hackney CCG chair, Dr Mark Rickets said Dr Salih had been unable to resolve staff and premise issues, adding that the practice’s lease was expiring and its list size was ‘too small’ to find a new provider.

Dr Rickets said: ‘The CCG is committed to ensuring that all our local GP practices have the help and support needed to provide the best possible service to their patients.

‘Although the CCG and the local GP Confederation has provided assistance and support to Dr Salih, he has been unable to resolve a number of staffing and premises issues which has resulted in Abney House Medical Centre permanently closing on 20th October. Following a review, we concluded that the current patient list was too small to advertise for a new provider and due to the lease on the premises expiring, this was unfortunately not an option anyway.’

He added: ’We are confident in saying that due to the already available resource from surrounding GP practices, the closure of this practice should not impact patient outcomes. The quality of primary care in Hackney is something we can be proud of, as shown by the fact that all our practices have CQC ratings of good or outstanding.

’We have already put a range of measures in place to ensure that the impact on patients will be kept to a minimum, including liaising with local community groups such as Derman to support Turkish speaking individuals, and we will continue to work closely with NHS England on the matter. Once registered with a new practice, patient medical records will be transferred electronically and vulnerable patients will also be offered additional support if needed.’

A rural village in Cornwall recently set up a public campaign to prevent its surgery from closing after its only partner resigned and ended their contract to run the surgery.