Sefton Council is opposing decision to close Hightown Village Surgery
Sefton Council is strongly opposing NHS England’s decision to close Hightown village surgery.
NHS England has just announced that the surgery, which serves Sefton residents, will shut later in the year with Sefton Council now calling on the decision to be reversed.
A special Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting is now scheduled for March 22 as Sefton Council believes NHS England has not followed the right process or engaged with the public properly about this.
Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council
Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council, said: “We as a Council are dismayed and extremely disappointed at the way NHS England has handled this matter.
“The closure decision was made and then communicated to residents in advance of any meaningful dialogue with the community and ourselves and taken without any reference to the statutory role of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee."
“This really exposes wider concerns about the willingness of the NHS to engage with the Council on significant matters affecting health services in Sefton and the apparent lack of any strategic commissioning approach to the provision of primary care to Sefton communities."
“Our ultimate concern is the safety and wellbeing of our communities and we would again request NHS England to review this decision and keep the surgery open while a meaningful engagement takes place."
“This is going to be extremely difficult as the closure decision has already been made, patients notified and allocated to new practices. The last thing we want is patients being confused about the process – something NHS England should be ashamed of."
“As a result we are arranging a special Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider this matter and to seek assurance from NHS England and the CCG that the health and wellbeing of the people of Hightown has been paramount in this decision."
“We have written to NHS England expressing all of our concerns and hope they react and respond in the way that betters the communities we serve.”
A provider has not been found for Hightown Village Surgery which means it will close on 8th June 2018. Plans are now being developed to move patients from Hightown Village Surgery to other local GP practices.
A procurement exercise to find new providers for two GP practices has now concluded but only one has successfully attracted a new contract holder.
Ashurst Healthcare Ltd have been appointed to run Freshfield Surgery, Formby, but a provider has not been found for Hightown Village Surgery.
Patients registered at the practices and local stakeholders have been informed of the outcome. Plans are now being developed to move patients from Hightown Village to other local GP practices ahead of its closure on 8 June, 2018. It will be ensured that all patients are registered with a new GP by this time.
Glenn Coleman, Head of Primary Care, NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside) said: “We started the process of trying to find new providers for both GP practices in September last year. We are pleased to say that from 1 April 2018, services at Freshfield Surgery will be provided by Ashurst Healthcare Ltd."
“Unfortunately, despite initially being successful in appointing a new provider for Hightown Village Surgery with a contract price above the national value, the provider has since decided to withdraw their bid. As no other bids were received, we have no option but to close the practice."
“Our main priority now is to ensure that patients have access to high quality GP services. We will be supporting patients to transfer to another GP practice close to where they live to ensure they have continuity of care.”
Dr Craig Gillespie, primary care lead and local GP at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “As part of a listening exercise, we held a number of meetings and discussions with patients and the wider community in Hightown and we completely recognise and understand their desire to retain a GP practice in the village and for this reason, NHS England working with the CCG began the procurement."
"We were not sure whether the procurement would attract bidders for the practice but we did receive one and we were extremely pleased to be able to offer the contract to that provider. However, they subsequently withdrew their bid, which demonstrates the difficulties and level of interest in running this practice."
“It is regrettable that after exploring all practical options, a new provider for Hightown from 1 April 2018 could not be found and our aim now is to ensure that patients can expect to have continuity of care and treatment from their new GP surgery in the future.”
A dedicated helpline has been established should patients and members of the public wish to discuss this further, freephone: 0800 044 8169 or email Hightownpractice@H2A.Global.
No matter where you live, you can choose the local surgery that you wish to join and do not have to be in the one that you live closest to. This also means that anyone that lives in Hightown can also join any surgery in another area such as Formby, or Crosby. This news now means that over 2,000 patients will now have to join other surgeries either in Formby or Crosby.