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Premises costs force 12,000-patient GP practice to hand back contract

A GP practice in Nottingham serving 12,000 patients has been forced to hand back its contract to NHS England due to severe financial pressures.

Whyburn Medical Practice, which has been operating since 2009, made the decision on 30 November and the practice is set to close on 31 May 2019, after the six-month notice period expires.

The practice said an increase in maintenance costs for the building it rents from NHS Property Services has resulted in a dispute and other related issues, which have together made the practice ‘financially unviable’.

The service charge increase, which the practice has disapproved of as ‘highly inflated’, has been an ongoing issue over the last several years.

It is also facing recruitment issues, after two GPs left and two more are due to leave in the near future.

A statement from the practice added: ‘In essence, the grave concerns regarding the financial unsustainability of Whyburn Medical Practice have made an already difficult recruitment situation impossible and this has resulted in an inability to move forward or plan for the future.

‘The GP partners at Whyburn Medical Practice have tried tirelessly to find a solution to these problems, exploring all avenues, but without success.’

NHS Nottingham North and East CCG clinical lead Dr James Hopkinson said: ‘We’re saddened that Whyburn Medical Practice has made the difficult decision to hand back their contract. We recognise that the partners have been facing a number of challenges and trying for some time to recruit additional GPs and other clinicians.

‘We’ve been working closely with them to help address the issues and while we are very disappointed that they have arrived at this decision, we appreciate it is one that will not have been taken lightly.’

He added that over the next six months the CCG ‘will be working closely with our colleagues at NHS England to find the right long-term solution for the patients currently registered with Whyburn Medical Practice and ensure that any changes take place with minimal disruption’.