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GP practice taken over by trust to ensure its survival

An NHS foundation trust is taking over management of a GP practice because the partners have been unable to recruit enough GPs to ensure its survival.

Lister House surgery will be run by the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 1 August 2016, and will hope to benefit from the trust’s ability to offer ‘attractive’ career prospects to trainees who will be able to work in a ‘range of settings’.

The practice may also have to close its branch surgery, it said, as the owner of the premises is looking to sell.

It comes as Pulse has reported on a number of trusts taking over practices, with many of the partners becoming salaried employees.

The Lister House practice said in a joint statement with the trust on the practice website that the partners will remain in their roles, but any departures would be replaced by a director of the trust. 

The statement said: ‘A number of the current GP partners are leaving or retiring and the practice has not been able to recruit new GPs to ensure the practice can continue.

‘As a large, county-wide NHS trust, and one which provides a wide range of services, they can offer GP recruits a range of roles across a variety of settings. The trust has already advertised nationallyand received a very good response.

‘The trust is convinced that this could be attractive to newly qualified GPs wanting to increase their experience and boost their career or to experienced GPs looking for a new challenge.’

However, there are fears that the branch surgery may close as, according to the practice website, ‘the building’s owners intend to sell the Milverton surgery’. According to the statement ‘one option is that all services will be delivered from Wiveliscombe with improved transport being provided to support access. Local people will be consulted before there is any change to current arrangements’.

The trust runs community health, mental health and learning disability services and the practice and trust say they hope that ‘patients will have access to a wider range of services at the surgery’.

This comes as Pulse has reported that GPs in Somerset and throughout the country are handing their contracts to trusts and carrying on as salaried GPs.  

In south Somerset, 10 practice contracts could come to be held by the local trust, with the current partners becoming salaried GPs.

Elsewhere, in Wolverhampton, a few GP practices will be employed by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Hospitals Trust while a mental health trust and GP provider company in Sheffield won a bid for an APMS contract to run five GP practices.