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Staff locked out as bailiffs repossess practice

Staff and patients arriving to work at one Black Country GP practice were locked out of the surgery after bailiffs repossessed it without warning earlier this week.

Locks on the Coombswood Surgery in the West Midlands were changed on Tuesday morning and a repossession orders posted in the window stating rent had ‘persistently not been paid’, the BBC reports.

Patients with appointments scheduled at the practice are being seen at the other premises in the Stourside Medical Practice partnership while the practice and commissioners work to ‘understand what has happened’.

NHS Dudley CCG director of membership and primary care Dan King told Pulse: ‘Dudley CCG received notification on the 31 May that the practice could not operate from the Coombs Wood Surgery site in Halesowen.’

‘All patients are being seen from one of the practices’ other sites in Halesowen. We are working with the practice to understand what has happened and why they were not made aware of this issue with the landlord in advance of the closure.’

He added that it was ‘disappointing’ that patients had been affected in this way.

This is the second West Midlands practice to be closed without warning in a month, the Raynor Road Medical Centre in Wolverhampton was shut by CQC while waiting for pledged emergency support to materialise.

Keeping the lights on

Pulse’s ‘Stop Practice Closures’ campaign has been calling for emergency funding and support to be made available to practices struggling with workload, recruitment and financial issues.

The campaign claimed a major coup last Summer when Jeremy Hunt announced the formation of fund to support vulnerable practices and invited practices to submit bids.

The overhauled £46 million scheme was put out to tender by NHS England last month, and will include coaching and mentoring support for practices identified as ‘vulnerable’ and help in diagnosing their problems.

The scheme had been delayed after NHS England’s own measurements identified more than 800 practices that would need to share the original £10m fund.