A ‘thriving’ GP surgery with more than 7,000 patients has been told its contract to provide care is to be cancelled in a move described as causing “distress and uncertainty’.
Management at Buckshaw Village Health centre were told last week of NHS England’s decision to cancel the contract and carry out a full procurement exercise in 2015.
Hundreds of patients have since protested and MP Lindsay Hoyle has taken the fight directly to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
NHS England said that it is “legally required” to re-tender the contract The practice was set up five years ago by Dr Muttucumaru and employs a further seven GPs, two specialist nurse practitioners, four practice nurses, and a 12-strong administration and management team.
The centre, which opened in 2009 and now treats 7,150 patients, issued a statement revealing its shock at the decision.
It said: “We are dismayed with the impact that this decision will have on our patients and the uncertainty it introduces for them and our employees.
“At a time when NHS England are promoting named GP’s for our patients aged 75 years and over, it is absurd that our patients who enjoy an excellent and trusted relationship with their named doctor face the removal of their GP.”
“We cannot understand why NHS England have chosen this option, which is only one option available to them, and worry about the possibility of another provider being forced upon our patients.
“For more than three years we have requested meetings with NHS England.
“We have been unable to hold any meaningful form of dialogue during this time and this cancellation letter was therefore unexpected and demoralising.”
The surgery’s Patient Participation Group have attacked what they call “a total lack of engagement by NHS England regarding this decision’ and have launched a campaign called Not In My Name.
Dozens attended the surgery in a show of support at the weekend.
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, said: “This is a disgraceful situation and will cause significant anxiety and distress for staff and patients registered at Buckshaw Village.
“People will want to know why a hugely successful community surgery is being put at risk because of this government’s decision to undertake an unnecessary £3bn top-down-review of the NHS, which has left GP surgeries open to challenge from private companies.”
Craig Lee, Buckshaw Village Community Association chair said: “I think residents and patients will be completely dismayed by this decision.
“As residents and patients we see absolutely no reason why NHS England would want to re-tender this contract, residents are very happy with the services provided.”
A spokesperson for NHS England (Lancashire) said: “We are committed to ensuring patients have access to high quality primary care services.
“Buckshaw Village Practice is commissioned to provide GP services until June 2015 at which time NHS England is legally required to re-tender the contract under procurement law and NHS cooperation and competition rules.
“The current provider can re-tender to provide primary care service in Buckshaw Village. We can confirm whichever provider is awarded the contract, primary care services will remain at the site.
“Staff currently employed at Buckshaw Village Practice would be transferred over to a new provider should this be necessary.”