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Upset as CCG decides not to re-tender GP contract following practice closure

Local politicians and patients have criticised a CCG decision not to re-tender the contract for a folding GP practice in a deprived area.

Patients in one of Birmingham’s poorest areas will have to walk for 20 minutes for a GP appointment as their nearest practice will close in September, according to reports.

The practice was rated inadequate by the CQC in May and the partners have since dissolved the partnership. The main practice and a branch surgery, on the Bromford Estate, have over 5,000 registered patients, including many elderly people.

NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG director of primary care and integration Karen Helliwell told the Birmingham Mail that ‘one of the practice’s partners dissolved the partnership’ in May, which ended the CCG’s contract with the practice.

She said: ‘Emergency arrangements were put in place and another organisation is currently providing high-quality medical services to registered patients; however this is only ever a short-term solution.

‘In considering long-term options for the practice, we have decided the safest option for patient care is to close the practice, with all patients transferred to surrounding practices through a carefully managed process.’

She added that the CCG is in talks with patients, including holding meetings with them, to ensure that they are able to re-register elsewhere.

Ms Helliwell said: ‘All registered patients have received a letter to their home address advising them about the next steps.’

But councillor Majid Mahmood criticised the CCG’s decision, which has prompted patient protests.

He said: ‘The residents from the Bromford [Estate] are upset as it would mean that there would be no GP provision in the Bromford. The nearest is in the Firs with the Hodge Hill Centre on Shawsdale Road.’

‘This is clearly not good enough given that the catchment area in the Bromford is around 4,000. There is no direct public transport to Shawsdale Road, and walking is difficult due to the length, and hill on Chipperfield Road.

‘This is clearly not acceptable given the vulnerability of residents on the Bromford due to low social income levels, and age.’

Florence Parkes, 59, who lives on the estate told the Birmingham Mail: ‘We can’t be expected to travel to the Firs estate, it’s up a big hill. You have got lots of elderly and vulnerable residents who don’t drive, cannot afford public transport and can hardly walk.

‘We need our own GP surgery, we will continue to fight for our GP to continue on the estate.’