An NHS hospital has stepped in to run a struggling GP practice, taking on an interim contract at the eleventh hour as NHS England faced having to shut the doors on New Year’s Eve.
Humber NHS Foundation Trust will take over Field House Surgery in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, on 1 January 2017 for a period of 15 months – until the end of March 2018.
The practice’s uncertain future, Pulse revealed, jeopardised the viability of the town’s five remaining surgeries – who have all closed their lists to new patients – but with the new arrangements NHS England no longer has to disperse the list.
NHS England had failed to find a new provider when it run as an ‘emergency procurement’ last month but has now reassured patients there will be no change to services.
The 7,000 patients at Field House were on the verge of being reallocated after its current provider One Medical Group served notice that it would end its contract on 31 December.
Pulse found that the severe GP shortages facing Bridlington, which contributed to Field House’s situation, also meant the five remaining practices serving the town’s 35,000 registered patients had been forced to close their lists.
Practices warned that they had been fearful of a ‘domino effect’ if a provider had not been found to take on the surgery.
And local GP leaders said that Bridlington, a coastal town with a large number of seasonal visitors, and above average levels of deprivation and frail elderly, could well be the first town in the UK where general practice ‘goes under’.
Heather Marsh, head of primary care co-commissioning at NHS England (North Yorkshire and the Humber) said: ‘We are now pleased to confirm that Humber NHS Foundation Trust will be taking over the contract to deliver GP services at the Field House Surgery premises. The premises are therefore staying open.
‘We would like to reassure patients that there will be no change to the GP services provided at the surgery because of the change of service provider.
‘We are writing to patients registered at the practice to provide them with more information and we want to encourage all patients to continue to attend Field House Surgery as normal.’
Pulse has revealed thousands of patients are set to lose their practice in the run up to Christmas as workforce pressures continue to bite.