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Practice set to close as GP says he was ‘forced to retire’

A practice in the north of England is set to close after a partner claims he was ‘forced to retire’ by NHS managers, despite patients launching a campaign to keep the practice open.

The Cauvery Medical Practice in Scunthorpe will close on 31 October after its two GPs retired following a performance review of the practice by NHS England.

One of the GPs, Dr Shambhu, told the Scunthope Telegraph that he was ‘forced to retire’ and that he wanted to carry on practicing without being under scrutiny.

Following the resignation in July of Dr Shambhu and Dr Ratna Ugargol opting to leave next month, NHS England wrote a letter to patients informing them that the practice will be closing – leaving 3,700 patients without a GP.  

Dr Shambhu told the Scunthope Telegraph: ‘I did not elect to retire, I was forced to retire. I want the people of Scunthorpe and my patients to know the truth. I was going to go in April 2016, and by that time, I would reach 70.’

In August, Unison’s Scunthorpe Health Branch launched a campaign to prevent the closure of the practice. Julian Corlett, a patient of the practice and leader of the campaign, said NHS England made ‘no steps to engage with patients.’

He added: ‘There was no intention to engage with patients apart from the letter sent to patients informing them of closure. We expected NHS England to talk to patients about the situation; what we do now with practice.

‘From the start nothing was going to derail their decision to close the practice, and I believe they made no attempt to replace the GPs. It goes against the principle of the NHS constitution. There is no transparency.’

Practice manager at the Cauvery Medical Practice, Mandy Smith, said NHS England told Dr Shambhu to ‘go now or we will take this further.’

She told Pulse: ‘Dr  Shambhu’s retirement stemmed from a performance review by NHS England. They required him to take up-to-date training and he wasn’t prepared to do that, as he didn’t want NHS England on his back.

‘They considered him to be old fashioned in his way of doctoring and in so many words they said go now or we will take this further.’

According to the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Manby Road surgery in the town will also close on 1 October following a patient consultation. NHS England said the that the practice’s building was no longer fit for purpose in delivering clinical services, and sessions will subsequently be delivered at a nearby practice.

A spokesperson for NHS England, North Yorkshire and Humber said: ‘We are committed to ensuring patients receive both high quality and safe primary medical care services. This is often supported by clinical performance reviews of GP practices.

‘We have undertaken a performance review with the GPs at the Cauvery Medical Practice. As a result of this Dr Shambhu chose to retire with immediate effect in July and resign from the GMC register also with immediate effect. Dr Ugargol will retire at the end of October 2014.’ 

The impending practice closures come as Pulse has launched its Stop Practice Closures campaign, which among other areas seeks to highlight the problems caused when practices are allowed to close.

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