Health chiefs buy more time in battle to save five Brighton and Hove doctors’ surgeries from closure

Posted On 11 Mar 2016 at 5:40 pm

Health chiefs have bought more time in the battle to save five Brighton and Hove doctors’ surgeries from closure.

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The five GP surgeries are run by The Practice Group which gave notice on its contract after NHS England said that funding would be cut in a government-initiated review.

The five surgeries are

  • The Practice Whitehawk Road, Wellsbourne Health Centre, Brighton
  • The Practice Hangleton Manor, Northease Drive, Hove
  • The Practice North Street, at Boots, North Street, Brighton
  • The Practice Willow House, Heath Hill Avenue, Lower Bevendean
  • Brighton Homeless Healthcare, Morley Street, Brighton

They were due to close in June but three of the five – in North Street, in Hangleton and in Bevendean – will stay open until the end of September.

The Whitehawk surgery will stay open until the end of November and the homeless practice until the end of next January.

Fusion Fostering

NHS England said: “At our request The Practice Group has agreed to continue providing services at each of the surgeries beyond their required notice period.

“This is to make sure we have as much time as possible to put in place new care arrangements for patients and to ensure a smooth transition for them across each of the five surgery sites.

“We recognise the specialist service provided by the Brighton Homeless Healthcare surgery and how this is valued by the local community so the NHS will be reprocuring a dedicated service for this vulnerable patient group.

“We need to do some further checks to make sure we can get the right solution for patients who use the four other affected surgeries and will update patients about this as soon as we can.”

Councillor Daniel Yates

Councillor Daniel Yates

A panel met on Tuesday 1 March to discuss the matter. It is expected to meet again on Monday 25 April.

It was accepted that NHS England would try to find a new operator for the Morley Street practice where 1,400 homeless patients receive care.

But no one who took part in the panel meeting last week has given any public indication that any of the other four practices will remain open.

Neighbouring surgeries appear to be operating at or close to capacity, making it hard to persuade them to take on extra patients from the four surgeries that are expected to close.

The four threatened surgeries are all relatively small, making it harder to attract a new operator.

Councillor Dan Yates, who chairs the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board, welcomed the further work being carried out and the extra time.

The Willow surgery in Bevendean

The Willow surgery in Bevendean

Sarah Macdonald, the director of commissioning at NHS England South (South East), emailed those taking part in the panel last week.

She wrote: “We have reflected on last week’s panel discussion with Felicity Cox (NHS England’s south east director of commissioning operations).

“At the end of last week we came to the view that it would be sensible to complete the further work that we had identified as being needed, ie, discussions with neighbouring practices, impact assessments and further reflection upon patient feedback (which we have described as conditions that the specific site recommendations are contingent upon) in advance of the final decision regarding ongoing care for patients being authorised.

“This will mean that we will undertake these pieces of work and reconvene a further panel meeting by no later than the end of April.

“The panel can then assess this additional information and ensure that the recommendations it wishes to make are cognisant of this additional context.

“The recommendations will then be presented to Felicity Cox for final consideration and approval.

“This positon relates to four of the five sites only.

“Felicity was in agreement with the panel that it would be sensible to make progress with the reprocurement of GP services for the patient list associated with the Morley Street site.

“My team will be in touch as soon as possible to send an invite to the next panel meeting, which we are hoping to hold on (Monday) 25 April.”

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    40% of local GP’s have indicated they will either quit/retire or take early retirement in the next five years (as I recall we were told very recently). There is an acknowledged shortage of people willing to train for GP service as well.

    Houston, we have a problem.

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