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Trust takes over third practice after GP partner recruitment issues

An NHS foundation trust in Cheshire has taken over its third GP practice after the partners were forced to hand over their contract over recruitment issues. 

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) is now running the Old Hall Surgery, Ellesmere Port, APMS practice after winning a contract tendered by NHS West Cheshire CCG.

The takeover, which started on 1 September, means it is the third practice to be managed by the trust after it acquired Westminster Surgery in 2015 and Willaston Surgery in 2017. 

NHS West Cheshire CCG told Pulse that the GPs at all three surgeries had no choice but give their contracts back as they were ‘unable to recruit new partners’.

Old Hall Surgery, which serves 5,700 registered patients in and around Ellesmere Port, said it intends to transfer all patients’ clinical records ‘to ensure that we can continue meeting your treatment needs in a safe, appropriate and effective manner’. 

NHS West Cheshire CCG said the continuity of service delivery could only be guaranteed with an APMS contract. 

A CCG spokesperson said: ‘The contracts for Old Hall Surgery, Westminster Surgery and Willaston Surgery were handed back by GPs who, despite efforts, were unable to recruit new partners. This required commissioners to run APMS contract procurements to ensure continuity of service provision.’

CWP chief executive Sheena Cumiskey said: ‘We have a great track record of delivering high quality primary care services and I’m delighted to welcome Old Hall Surgery staff and patients into the CWP family.

‘As a trust we are rated Outstanding for Care and we look forward to sharing our person-centred values with the Old Hall community.’

Earlier this year, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust took over three GP practices, with GPs warning the takeovers could put the trust in an ‘extremely powerful position’.

Last year, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust took over a 5,000-patient GP practice, making it the ninth practice to come under the running of the hospital – which now has 70,000 GP patients and employs 43 GPs.

And last summer, Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust was forced to close a 5,000-patient GP practice because of ‘significant difficulties’ recruiting GPs and an ‘over-reliance’ on locums.