NHS bosses vow to find a new doctor for 3,000 patients from Spalding GP Surgery - and make use of the Johnson Hospital
Health leaders are ‘hopeful’ of finding a new provider to treat the 3,000 Spalding GP Surgery patients - but are urging people not to abandon the practice while their future is decided.
Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board’s (ICB) Sarah-Jane Mills says they want to make ‘optimum use of Johnson Hospital' but has warned that this ‘won’t be the same as a GP practice’ - with the surgery currently based at the Pinchbeck facility.
The board is currently running a consultation with patients from the surgery, which is based at the hospital, after Lincolnshire Community Health Service (LCHS) decided to end its contract to provide the GP service in September. The trust gave notice of its intention to quit in May but the decision was only made public this month.
Patients will be able to have their say about what they want from the service before the board opens its ‘expression of interest’ for companies to bid for the contract in September. The new provider is hoped to be appointed by November.
Ms Mills is hoping for a positive response from companies interested in the contract.
She said: “If we were trying to award the contract for 3,000 patients in isolation, we wouldn’t get any interest as it is not viable. If we are looking at 3,000 being allocated to an existing practice that is able to extend their service offer, I think that will be positive and I would hope that as we go through the process we will get some positive responses.
“Our colleagues in LCHS will work with us until we have completed this process and everyone can be registered with another practice. Patients should continue to access the services as they are doing. We want to listen to what people say and we will make sure that patients continue to have access to a GP going forward.”
Clinical staff shortages are being seen across the NHS nationally with both hospital and primary care services being affected.
According to NHS Digital there were 27,743 fully qualified GPs in the NHS. Earlier this year we revealed there area 49 doctors working in South Holland practices.
A GP service is different to LCHS normal services.
Ms Mills said that practices receive about £160 per patient annually with a combination of funding and staffing contribution to LCHS decision.
She said: “The work force is a challenge across the country but ultimately a small list of 3,000 is very hard to sustain. We will see nationally small practices either merging or handing back the contract as it is a very difficult service to deliver.
“The range of services we expect general practice to provide means that they need an extensive workforce. We expect practices to be open from 8am and close at 6.30pm.”
She also said that the board will aim to make best use of all the facilities in Johnson Hospital.
Ms Mills said: “Within that we will want to look at how can provide primary care services using that fantastic facility. That is not the same as GP practice in hospital.
“We are committed to using the hospital. The fact that they have a bus route has given us great access.
“We want to make sure we use it to the optimum and if we can provide more primary care services from that location we will look to do that.”