A practice in Doncaster has announced plans to close one of its branch surgeries ‘as early as possible’ when the number of GPs at the branch halved.
The Ransome Practice, which currently operates three branches under a PMS contract, decided to close The Scawthorpe Clinic because of recruitment issues and the financial unviability of the practice.
Four partners ran the practice initially, but after one retired in 2012 and another in 2016, the 6,000-patient practice has been run by two partners with the help of a salaried GP and a locum.
One of the practice’s senior partner, Dr Puvanasundaram Umapathee, submitted to NHS Doncaster CCG a report in which he described recruitment as a ‘major issue’.
The report said the practice was ‘under extreme pressure’, largely due to ‘operating over the three sites’.
The Ransome Practice also runs The Health Centre and Woodside Surgery in Doncaster, which both have 2,400 registered patients.
According to the report, Scawthorpe Clinic’s 1,320 patients will be able to see GPs at the other sites.
Dr Umapathee said in the report: ‘At present the practice feels that there are adequate staffing levels to accommodate 2 branches only and that should this continue it will have an increasing impact on staff morale and patient safety.’
He added that, currently the GPs split their time between the branches ‘which significantly affects service provision’, leads to long working hours and increased levels of stress.
The report also said the practice was no longer financially viable because of the reduction in PMS funding and a premises rent increase of 400% to £35,000 annually.
The practice also said they faced financial issues because of a ‘reduction in ability to increase revenue’ through local enhanced services and direct enhanced services, along with an increase in staff costs due to the Government’s plans for extended GP access.
A spokesperson for NHS Doncaster CCG said Doncaster has struggled to recruit doctors but ‘some practices have found this harder than others’.
He said: ‘We are working with our newly formed GP federation in Doncaster to look at ways for neighbouring practices to help support each other.’
Primary Care Doncaster was formed at the end of June and includes all 43 practices in the CCG.
The spokesperson added that the closure has not been formally agreed by the CCG yet, with the request going to the CCG’s Primary Care Committee on 14 September for a decision.