Two APMS practices in Essex are facing closure after local health bosses found the premises to be ‘not fit for future service’.
NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG and NHS England have decided not to renew the contracts for The Wickford Health Centre and The Gore Surgery, which is are held by South Essex Managed Care and cover 7,000 patients.
They say this want to ensure premises are fit for purpose, and they hope this move will ‘strengthen GP services’.
GP leaders in the area agreed with the commissioners’ decision to close the practices, ‘assuming their neighbours can take on the extra patients’.
The contract to run Wickford Health Centre will expire on 31 January 2018, while The Gore Surgery’s contract will end on 28 February 2018.
Wickford Health Centre houses two practices, only one of which will close after the contract expires.
Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMC, said the LMC is concerned about whether local practices have the capacity to take on patients and ‘if they’ll be funded properly to do so’.
He said: ‘They have previously had arrangements where GPs had a sudden influx of patients and it was a considerable amount of work and the services recognise that.’
But he added that the phone ‘has not lit up’ following the announcement of the practice closures, ‘because we are losing practices all the time’.
Dr Balmer went on to agree with the decision to close the practices, saying ‘they’re not really viable to continue’.
He said: ‘They’re probably making the right decision assuming their neighbours can take on the extra patients because our capacity is a constant issue since we’re short of GPs and nurses and managers.’
A joint statement from NHS England and NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG said they are ‘looking to bring together and strengthen GP services in the Basildon and Wickford areas and ensure GP premises are fit for purpose’.
It said: ‘There are other practices in close proximity to both the Wickford Health Centre and The Gore Surgery.
‘In addition, The Gore Surgery’s current premises are not fit for future service development and delivery.
‘Therefore, NHS England and NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG are proposing to not renew these contracts when they expire.’