Campaign to stop the closure of Hightown Village Surgery has already raised over £1,500
Hightown Parish Council and a small working group of residents, businesses owners and community leaders are together leading a campaign to stop the closure of Hightown Village Surgery. They are raising funds to pay for a specialist solicitor to take up the case. Over £1,500 has been raised so far of the £20,000 needed.
Please go to the Go Fund Me page: www.gofundme.com/save-our-surgery
NHS England and South Sefton CCG have announced that the surgery will be closed on 8th June 2018 and all patients dispersed to other local surgeries. This is devastating news for our small village as we have high numbers of vulnerable patients, poor access to local transport, and the village itself is geographically isolated. We believe securing the future of GP services is vital for the future welfare of the village and it's residents, and although we have all fought extremely hard over the last few years to save the surgery, we now desperately need your support once again if we are to stop this closure.
We believe we now have no option but to request a formal, judicial review of the NHS closure decision and are therefore raising funds to engage a specialist solicitor to take up our case. Any donations to support the campaign will be very gratefully received. We will keep everyone closely informed of our progress; updates will be available on noticeboards at the Hightown Village Pharmacy and the PCs noticeboard by the Post Office, and online via the village Facebook page ( www.Facebook.com/HightownVillageMersey ) and website ( www.hightownparishcouncil.co.uk )
An update to this statement on 12th March said:
A huge thank you to our supporters so far, we are off to a flying start. Be sure to keep up to date with our regular posts on the village Facebook page and website, and all key information will also be shared on the new noticeboard outside Hightown Village Surgery. We will also be on BBC Radio Merseyside (Breakfast Show from 7am) on Wednesday 15th March so be sure to tune in and let friends and family know. You can also help draw attention to our plight by joining in the phone-in section of the Roger Phillips show (from midday, daily) and sharing your views on the closure plans.
The Newsletter/Leaflet sent out to residents:
The fight to retain GP services at Hightown Village Surgery is, sadly, still ongoing. The Hightown Village Surgery Working Group (Karl Brennan, Tim Asbury, Andrew Farquhar, Rosemary Petty and Ellis Hall-Lyon) and Hightown Parish Council, believe that the surgery is vital for the future welfare of the village and its residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of our community, the elderly and young children. It is imperative that we secure these essential GP services.
NHS England have made the decision to close Hightown Village Surgery on 8th June 2018 and will shortly contact all patients of the surgery, to inform them of this and their intention to disperse the patient list to local surgeries. We would urge patients to stay registered with Hightown Village Surgery whilst we resolve this matter.
Over the last couple of years, we have all fought extremely hard to save Hightown Village Surgery. Following the public listening events last year and the overwhelmingly unanimous verdict from patients that the surgery was essential for the village, combined with the fact that attending other surgeries via public transport is an impossibility (particularly for elderly residents), NHS England agreed that Hightown Village Surgery would remain open and that a new provider would be found to provide essential GP services in Hightown.
On 16th May 2017, Karl Brennan, Chairman, Hightown Parish Council and Ellis Hall-Lyon met with Graham Urwin, Director of Commissioning Operations NHS England Cheshire and Merseyside, to discuss the future procurement of Hightown Village Surgery. Mr Urwin agreed, during the meeting, that a potential provider would be paid 15% above the standard GMS rate (money paid per patient) and that additional fees could also be provided to help, for a defined period of time, to secure stability for the new GP provider of Hightown Village Surgery.
Mr Urwin was also interested in the unique use of Hightown Village Surgery as an “overflow” surgery, due to its convenient location directly on the Northern Railway Line.
The surgery could potentially provide GP services to patients in close proximity is to railway stations along the Northern Line. It was also discussed that this innovative use of Hightown Village Surgery would also help surrounding surgeries that are struggling with capacity issues. This idea was also discussed in great detail, in a separate meeting, with Dr Nial Leonard.
Quotation of the minutes for the meeting on 16th May 2017: “Mr Urwin stated that in light of the issues raised, his staff would recommend to the CCG Sub-committee t at the market is tested, encouraging an innovative partnership approach. Mr Urwin stated that there was potential f some flexibility around the financial envelope for contracts. Mr Urwin noted that a balance is required between patient access and value for money and therefore for the right proposal not being held hard and fast to GMS rates.”
Unfortunately, NHS England offered no incentive or additional percentage increase to the GMS rates during the recent procurement process. It is for this reason that the present caretaker provider, Ashurst Health, felt that it was not financially beneficial for them to bid to provide GP services in Hightown. This is almost certainly the reason why only a single GP service provider bid to provide services from Hightown, but then subsequently ‘withdrew’ their bid.
On 25th October 2017 NHS Property Services officially signed a five year lease with Mr Hall-Lyon, to rent the provided an insurance indemnity policy to NHS Property Services to ensure that they would provide monies to NHS Property Services for both rental and maintenance expenses for the contract term.
Councillor John J. Kelly has confirmed that NHS England have been made aware that any significant changes to GP service provisions in Hightown must pass through the Overview Health and Scrutiny Committee before any decisions can be finalised. Quite clearly, NHS England have bypassed this committee whilst making this most recent decision regarding Hightown Village Surgery. Mr Kelly is presently challenging this situation and wishes to discuss this matter with NHS England within a Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting before any decision can be made.
Mr Bill Esterson MP has informed Karl Brennan that he will be taking this matter up with Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary. Mr Esterson has also confirmed that he is in full support of the retention of Hightown Village Surgery and will fight with patients and residents, to secure GP services in Hightown.
We will continue to fiercely oppose the closure of Hightown Village Surgery and it is our intention to request a further, more visible procurement process to be undertaken with the appropriate financial incentives that were promised by Mr Urwin, in place, in order to ensure a provider is found. Again, we would urge patients to stay registered with Hightown Village Surgery whilst we resolve this matter. Even in the worst case scenario, if the surgery does close on 8th June and you are moved to a surgery by NHS England that is not of your preference, any patient has the right to move to which ever surgery they desire. Jan Leonard has confirmed that the majority of surgeries in this area have an open patient list and will therefore not refuse any patients.
Even if you are not a patient at Hightown Village Surgery, the closure of the surgery in Hightown, coupled with Seftons extensive house building plans will certainly create a significant impact on all patient access to the already struggling GP services in both Formby and Crosby.
If you wish to support the retention of Hightown Village Surgery, we urge you to write, email and/or telephone the five people listed below, to ensure Hightown Village Surgery is saved and that a further more appropriate procurement process is initiated to find a suitable GP provider.
For anyone that requires help or does not have the facility to send emails, please contact:
Andrew Farquhar 0151 924 4247 or 07540 789823 and he can arrange to help sending information.
Richard Barker NHS England, North Regional Director
email@example.com Tel: 0113 825 3011 / 07901 514943
Jan Leonard Chief Commissioning Office & Redesign, Southport and Formby CCG
Jan.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01704 387034 / 07826 903286
Glenn Coleman NHS England, Head of Primary care
Glenn.email@example.com Tel: 01 8253522 ( t 53522) / 07887 653257
John Joseph Kelly Councillor firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Esterson MP email@example.com