A Lincoln GP surgery has been given the chance to continue running after June 2015 — if a new service provider can be found.
As previously reported, Burton Road Surgery faced closure after current providers Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust terminated their contract.
NHS England sent letters to patients saying the surgery would close by September, which sparked opposition from residents and local councillors.
A consultation was launched for patients have their say on the future of Burton Road Surgery.
In the consultation, the public could either let NHS England to see who might be interested to provide a service still or allow the surgery to close.
Through the consultation, NHS England has decided to continue running the service, provided a new operator can be found.
At this stage, this means that the service may remain the same; could be delivered from different premises, by different staff; or may not continue.
They will now advertise the opportunity to health care providers to run the surgery in some form for the next five years.
Lincolnshire Community Health Services will run services at the surgery until June 2015.
The chairman of Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Christine Talbot, welcomed the news:
Cllr Talbot said: “I am very pleased that NHS England has now consulted with patients of Burton Road Surgery and listened to their wishes.
“It was clear from patients attending the Health Scrutiny Committee meetings that the closure of their surgery and the way that was communicated caused a lot of concern and confusion. The committee has vigorously pursued this matter on their behalf, meeting with NHS England regularly since June.
“I am now satisfied that NHS England and Lincolnshire Community Health Services have made sincere efforts to improve their communication to patients.
“I hope NHS England continues to work hard to recruit a suitable provider and secure the future of services for patients. The Health Scrutiny Committee will continue to pay close attention as the process moves forward.”
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, who is also a user of the surgery, added: “Those of us who are continuing our campaign to keep open our Burton Road Surgery will cautiously welcome NHS England’s decision to try to find a suitable provider of services for the patients of the current premises.
“The doctors, nurses and staff at 181 Burton Road Surgery – which I, my family, and around 2,700 of my City of Lincoln Constituents are registered at – provide us all with first class healthcare.
“Indeed, fellow patients who have contacted me have been united in their admiration for the staff and care they have received, some for a very considerable length of time.
“I shall do everything I can as the local Member of Parliament for the City of Lincoln to ensure that we are successful in attracting someone suitable so that we may continue to receive the very best health service provision in the future.”
“I would like to thank those of my constituents who are supporting our campaign and, in particular, offer a special thanks to Liz Rance, Margaret Adams and Jaci Gill, as well as some of the local Councillors, whose efforts continue to be so helpful.”
Patients concerned by the closure set up their own campaign, Save Our Surgery, to monitor NHS England’s choices.
Liz Rance, spokesperson for the group, said: “As a result of NHSE’s recent consultation with Lincoln Burton Road patients, we tentatively welcome its decision to choose ‘Option One’ as its preference for the future of our local, community-based GP practice.
“However, we continue to have reservations about the NHSE consultation documents wording of the two options offered to patients over August as NHSE’s ‘Option One’ includes “or may not continue” as its final possible outcome.
“We are further concerned that a series of questions raised over the summer, by the Patients Campaign Group with NHSE, concerning the intended mechanisms and procedures for procurement of future services at Burton Road Surgery for patients, have gone totally ignored.
“NHSE states that it hopes to be in a position to write to all patients registered with Burton Road Surgery to let them know what will happen next by the end of March 2015.
“As patients, we consider this to be far too late on in the procurement proceedings, given that continuance of Burton Road Surgery has only been secured until 2015, at present.”
“Consequently, we will again be contacting NHSE to ask for their a copy of procurement action plan; and we will also continue to request that each step taken by them over the next 10 months is explained to patients as it happens.
“We would like to acknowledge the enormous support we have received since the start of our campaign to keep Lincoln Burton Road Surgery open from many local politicians of all parties – especially from Lincoln City Councillors, Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Chairman and Committee, and from our local MP Karl McCartney.”