Pennygate Health Centre, Spalding: replacement medical centre 'remains an aspiration', pledges South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group
Former patients of Spalding's Pennygate Health Centre have been given a new pledge about doctors being based where they live in the town.
The pledge came from South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at the same time as it announced that primary care and GP services would continue at Spalding's Johnson Community Hospital.
A new Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract has been agreed between the hospital, off Spalding Road, Pinchbeck, South Lincolnshire CCG and Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS).
Thousands of patients previously registered at Pennygate Health Centre were transferred to Johnson Community Hospital when the health centre closed in September 2018.
But now South Lincolnshire CCG has given its clearest statement yet of an "aspiration" to have a medical centre "on the west" of Spalding, despite agreeing a new contract with LCHS and Johnson Community Hospital which replaces the "current interim arrangements" with effect from October 1.
Hilary Daniels, chairman of South Lincolnshire CCG's Primary Care Commissioning Committee, said: "Providing the highest quality GP services, as well as continuity of care, for patients is vitally important.
"The feedback to date on the service provided by LCHS NHS Trust at the Johnson GP Centre has been positive and we welcome the stability that should be provided with LCHS continuing with.
"However, our preference is to occupy a site on the west of the town and this very much remains an aspiration of the CCG because we acknowledge that, as housing developments progress, demand for GP services will increase, particularly on this side of Spalding."
The announcement of the APMS contract, an agreement between the Government and South Lincolnshire CCG to provide NHS services in an area where it is needed, came after talks between Andrew Rix and Rebecca Neno, South Lincolnshire CCG's chief executive officer and deputy director of quality and nursing respectively, Sir John Hayes MP and Coun Angela Newton, South Holland District Council member for Spalding Monks House which includes the area formerly served by Pennygate Health Centre.
"It means that the existing providers will carry on with the service that replaced Pennygate Health Centre, but we were also assured that if suitable premises became available in the Pennygate area, the CCG would consider a move back to west side of Spalding.
"Rebecca and Andrew also recognised that transport and parking were two of the main issues concerning patients and we were assured that the CCG would continue to support the present bus service to Johnson Community Hospital for the foreseeable future."
Andrew Morgan, chief executive for LCHS NHS Trust said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to continue to run primary care services at Johnson Community Hospital's GP Centre.
"We will continue to work with colleagues at South Lincolnshire CCG to ensure our patients receive the best possible care."
Sir John said: "The priority for me is to have continuity over GP services so that those on the west side of Spalding have access to primary health care.
"I would ideally like to have retained the GP service at Johnson Community Hospital and also have a surgery at Pennygate Health Centre.
"But the good news is that we now have continuity about primary care services which a lot of people are very pleased with."
Coun Elizabeth Sneath, Lincolnshire County Council member for Spalding Elloe, said: "This is such good news for residents who are able to access GP services at our local hospital, something which is very convenient and that makes even better use of our wonderful hospital and its facilities.
"The practice list is still open to new patients wishing to sign up to the surgery as it will be many years, if ever, before a possible move to the west of Spalding becomes possible.
"With so many new homes being built in Pinchbeck, joining the Johnson GP Centre could mean less traffic going into Spalding for doctor's appointments.
"In my opinion, it just makes perfect sense to have a GP surgery at a hospital where other services, such as blood clinics and X-rays, are in the same building, thereby offering a ‘one stop shop’ for health care in Spalding."