Company pulls out of surgery

Posted on June 27, 2012. Filed under: Closure | Tags: |

Leicester Mercury | 27 June 2012

A private company is pulling out of running a city GP surgery after protests from patients about poor service.

The Practice plc made the announcement as patients threatened to demonstrate outside the Brandon Street surgery, in Belgrave, and take their protest to local health bosses.

They said they were fed up that nothing was being done to sort out a catalogue of problems at the surgery, which moved from Cross Street, in Belgrave, to the newly-built Belgrave Health Centre, in Brandon Street, last year. Problems included concerns over the number of locum doctors being used, as well as difficulties getting through on the telephone and in getting an appointment after The Practice plc took over the running of the surgery in 2010.

It was part of a £5 million deal to run this and three other city surgeries for five years.

Ved Dhiman, chairman of the patients’ participation group at the surgery, said: “We were promised services would get better but the surgery has been run by locum doctors and patients have had constant problems in getting medication.

“We kept asking the primary care trust (PCT), NHS Leicester City, to do something about it and had meetings with The Practice, but nothing much changed. We were getting so fed up we were planning to demonstrate outside the surgery to let people know about our frustrations.”

The group was also planning to publicly demonstrate outside the PCT headquarters in Enderby.

However, on Monday evening bosses at The Practice said they were pulling out.

Dr Jeremy Rose, clinical director of The Practice plc, said: “We have had great difficulty in recruiting permanent GPs to maintain continuity of care for this group of patients – something that is very important to us.

“It is with regret that, by mutual agreement with the PCT, we have decided to release this contract for re-tender.”

The Practice will carry on providing services for the 4,800 patients registered at the surgery until the end of the year.

Mr Dhiman said: “I am very pleased this company is leaving and the patient participation group is sorry it has taken so long for people to listen to our complaints.”

Professor Azhar Farooqi, a city GP and chairman of the Leicester City clinical commissioning group, which will take on responsibility for providing health care in April, said: “Although we are not responsible for the contract, the most important thing for us is patients experience continuity of care.”

Lesley Harrison, associate director for primary care contracting at the PCT, said health bosses would be talking to patients to make sure a suitable provider is found.

Zuffar Haq, a spokesman for the Leicester Mercury Patients’ Panel, said: “It is about time the PCT got its act together for the people in this area. Things need to change.”

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