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Superpractice to close surgery due to ‘serious’ GP staffing problems

A superpractice is to close one of its surgeries in Hull next month after a lack of GPs led to ‘serious’ concerns about its ability to provide a safe service for patients.

Modality Partnership, based in Birmingham, will shut one of its five sites in Hull and transfer its primary care services to two other sites in the north of the city.

From 1 August, staff working at Faith House Surgery will move to either New Hall Surgery or Newland Group Practice and the patient lists will also be divided up between the two practices.

The superpractice – which has a combined list size of 60,062 patients in Hull – had attempted to recruit more clinical staff following a period of GPs leaving or reducing their hours at the surgery.

But further retirements meant each remaining full-time equivalent GP at the surgery would have been responsible for 3,850 patients.

A report by Hull CCG and Hull City Council on the matter noted the ‘urgent clinical safety implications,’ which led to the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee supporting the decision to close the surgery.

Last year the practice began an engagement exercise about whether to close the site so that patients had access to a broader range of staff and services.

But since then, ‘the compounding issue of immediate and serious clinical workforce pressures…had seriously escalated,’ said the report.

The report added: ‘The committee were informed that since the beginning of the engagement exercise, three GP partners had retired from Modality Partnership Hull, a GP partner had resigned, a further five GP partners had reduced their hours and two more GP partners were retiring in the coming weeks.

’Despite a number of proactive steps having already been taken to recruit GPs, the partnership has seen a significant reduction in the GP capacity and with imminent retirements by the end of July there will be 15.8 GPs left to support approximately 61,000 patients.

‘Each whole-time equivalent GP will therefore be responsible for 3,850 patients each, which is double that of the England average of approximately 1,800 – 2,000 patients per WTE GP.’

Patients were informed of the closure and have been sent a letter stating that they can select their preferred Modality practice, according to Faith House Surgery’s website.

The website notice said: ‘Following the changes, you will be able to contact the surgery through existing numbers, and access appointments at any Modality Partnership Hull site. You do not have to do anything, and there is no need to re-register.

Modality has been approached for comment.

Modality has previously expressed interest in taking on leadership roles within new primary care networks, including providing back-office support and being a ‘custodian of funds’.

Last year, Modality partnered with Push Doctor to offer video GP consultations in its practices.