Foundation trust in emergency takeover of GP practices hit by financial problems

A foundation trust in Derbyshire has been made 'emergency caretaker' of three GP practices facing recruitment and financial problems, as two others in the area face closure.

Dr John Grenville: Derbyshire practices under pressure (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr John Grenville: Derbyshire practices under pressure (Photo: JH Lancy)

Following what local health leaders described as ‘exceptional circumstances’ the Holywell Medical Group - which ran all five practices affected will no longer provide GP services after Thursday 14 May.

North Derbyshire CCG said it had commissioned Chesterfield Royal Hospital, in the form of Royal Primary Care, to provide services for around 25,000 patients registered with Holywell Medical Group in Chesterfield and Staveley.

Three practice sites will continue to provide services under the arrangement, while two will close.

Local LMC leaders told GP they were working to ensure the stability of neighbouring practices which could be affected by the collapse of the Holywell group. 

GP practice takeover

Former Derbyshire PCT medical director Dr Paul Cook will act in an advisory capacity to support the caretaker arrangement.

Holywell Medical Group senior partner Dr Nadine Kale said: ‘The partners have been exploring ways of integrating care with other local healthcare providers for some time. However, ongoing difficulties to recruit health professionals, particularly GPs, and the financial pressures of having to use more locum doctors has driven this urgent change.'

She added: ‘This is the first integration of primary and secondary care in the North Derbyshire area and it is an exciting new challenge. The support provided by the Chesterfield Royal Hospital will free up more GP time to see patients which was previously spent on managing the practice.’

GP care disruption

North Derbyshire CCG chairman Dr Ben Milton said: ‘The news that Holywell Medical Group would no longer be able to provide GP services was unexpected and we appreciate this may cause concern to patients. However, we wish to assure every patient that our priority is to make sure a safe and sustainable service continues and that any potential disruption to clinical services is kept to a minimum.’

Derbyshire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville told GP the practice group had faced 'huge difficulties recruiting and retaining GPs, racking up huge locum costs and looking at rapidly decreasing profits to the extent they didn't think it was sustainable.'

The LMC had been involved with attempts to help stabilse the practice with NHS England and the CCG for a couple of years, he said, but it had become necessary for the partners to terminate their contract and find an emergency solution.

Stability of GP services

The LMC, said Dr Grenville, had confidence in the foundation trust to provide the service temporarily until commisioners consult on a long-term solution and reprocure the service next year. 'The LMCs' priority at the moment is to maintain the stability of practices in the rest of the town,' he added. 

NHS England Derbyshire medical director Ken Deacon said: ‘We appreciate this is an unexpected change for patients and would like to assure them that we and all the other health partners will continue to work together to ensure all patients have access to services which are safe, clinically effective and offer a good experience.’

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