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‘We were rated outstanding but we have had to terminate our contract’

Dear patient,

We are writing to you to give you more information about your surgery, as you may have heard that we have given six months’ notice on our contract with NHS England to provide GP services. We feel it is very important to clarify what has been going on.

In essence following the Government’s national policy decision we have had a contract review that means the practice will lose a third of its current funding over the next two years.

NHS England carried out a national review of all practices on a PMS contract like us at Sutherland Lodge. The national policy was to make sure funding of primary care services was deemed to be fair for all practices.

For Sutherland Lodge, the review’s outcome means a significant reduction in funding. This will be taken away over two years and given to NHS Mid Essex CCG to reinvest in Mid Essex primary care.

This loss would mean a severe cut in the services we have worked so hard over the years to develop. We feel very strongly that after the inevitable rise in the doctor to patient ratio, which will move from 1:1890 to 1:4000 we will not be able to continue to provide the current level of services nor be comfortable in providing the significantly reduced level of service that the new contract would require.

It is sad and ironic that we recently received an outstanding rating by the Government’s quality assessor – the CQC – and we were well regarded by NHS England.

But after long and careful consideration and discussions with the CCG, NHS England, the LMC and our specialist accountants, we have taken the very difficult decision to give six months’ notice on our Contract.

This is not a decision any of us wanted to make and will mean that we, the four partners, will be leaving at the end of June.

By so doing, we hope the majority of the practice team will at least be given the offer of continued employment. Hence Sutherland Lodge will lose four long-serving, experienced doctors with whom (we hope) many of you will have enjoyed an excellent professional relationship.

We will work with NHS England and any proposed new contract holder to try to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible.

Yours faithfully,

The partners of Sutherland Lodge Surgery