GP medical director quits Darzi centre before it opens

The medical director of Suffolk's GP-led health centre has resigned, calling the project 'a threat to local services'.

Dr Andrew Cornish
Dr Andrew Cornish

Dr Andrew Cornish said it had become ‘just another general practice, funded at a higher rate than other surgeries’.

The Crown Surgery, Suffolk PCT’s GP-led health centre, will open in Haverhill in June.

Dr Cornish was appointed medical director after The Practice plc, a firm that runs several practices, was confirmed as the successful bidder.

But the £1m centre will open initially in temporary facilities. Dr Cornish took the post believing the centre would offer X-rays and ultrasound. However, Suffolk PCT said these services will only be available once the centre moves to a permanent base in three years.

‘I could no longer be involved in something in direct competition with other practices,’ said Dr Cornish, a partner at the nearby Christmas Maltings and Clemence surgeries.

He said the PCT had just cut £300,000 in funding from PMS practices, but was spending £240,000 a year to rent ‘a stack of Portakabins’ to house the Darzi centre. ‘They will be paid per patient considerably more than other practices,’ he said.

Julian Herbert, NHS Suffolk deputy chief executive, was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Dr Cornish’s resignation. The health centre would receive ‘different funding’ because it opened longer hours and offered more services, he said.

No-one from The Practice plc was available to comment.

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