NHS England has backtracked on plans to close the Burton Road GP surgery in Lincoln, despite originally sending letters to patients stating that it would close in September 2014.
More than one expression of interest has been made to become a temporary ‘caretaker’ of the surgery until a final decision is made about a new provider.
As previously reported, the Burton Road GP contract was due to expire in March 2015 along with four other time-restricted GPs across Lincolnshire.
NHS England, after valuing the contract at £284,000, say they “could not justify putting more money into the premises” and the decision to close the surgery early was made based on calculations that surrounding practices could accommodate the extra influx of patients.
The surgery was being managed by Lincolnshire Community Health Services, who were also worried about the sustainability of the practice.
After Lincoln residents and politicians spoke out against the planned closure, and after a number of “confusing” letters, NHS England launched a public consultation.
Director the NHS England Leicestershire and Lincolnshire area team David Sharp spoke at the Lincolnshire County Council health scrutiny committee meeting on July 23.
He said: “I apologise unreservedly for a number of mistakes on my part with regards to making the decision to close the surgery.
“The decision was made based on the fact that 97% of patients live within one mile of another surgery.
“We believe there is capacity at the other surgeries but I did not properly take into consideration the views of the public.
“We begin to consider caretaker applications on August 1 and will have made a decision on that by the end of September. It is extremely unlikely that the surgery will close its doors in September.”
NHS England will write to patients of the surgery on August 4, 2014 with an update on the consultation.
Patients who have already relocated to other GP surgeries in Lincoln will not be contacted further regarding the consultation.
Since receiving initial letters about the surgery’s closure, 412 patients left the Burton Road GP patient list.
Should a new provider be offered a contract to run the service, that would begin on July 1, 2015.
Burton Road GP patient Janet Wilson (61) has been registered at the surgery for 14 years.
She said: “My son has been registered there for about 40 years. Neither of us want to move. A few years ago I was really ill and needed a blood transfusion and the doctor was brilliant.
“For us its a personal issue. We’ve gotten to know the staff and it’s a routine for us. It was such a shock when we got the letter and it’s all wrong how it was handled.
“Personally I still don’t feel I have heard any answers from the scrutiny meetings. Basically we still haven’t been told if the surgery will stay.”