Turmoil at crisis-hit surgery over shortage of doctors

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A shortage of family doctors has been pinpointed as the reason behind a care and treatment crisis at a surgery in Kirkby.

Concerns over a drop in standards at Kirkby Community Primary Care Centre, on Portland Street, has led to the plug being pulled on a contract with its main health provider.

The surgery, which has more than 5,600 registered patients, was run by Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services (CNCS) on behalf of the Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

But in a shock move, their partnership has been scrapped 16 months before it was due to expire because “patients are no longer receiving the quality of care they are entitled to”.

And CNCS says the decision revolves around “recruitment challenges, compounded by a national shortage of GPs”.

“Despite a persistent recruitment-drive, the surgery has had to mainly rely on GP locums,” said spokesman John Brooks.

“This has had a significant impact on the cost of delivering the service and meant that CNCS has not been able to deliver the consistent quality of care expected.

“It has, therefore, been agreed that the best course of action for patients is to resign the contract to allow the CCG to commence a new commissioning process.

“As a not-for-profit social enterprise that exists to deliver excellent patient-care, CNCS regrets that it will not continue to deliver the contract, but believe this is the best course of action for patients, who are always our first priority.”

Problems that mounted up at the Kirkby surgery included long delays for appointments, lack of suitable GP cover and “management issues”. Now it needs to find a new care provider.

The Mansfield and Ashfield CCG confirmed it was very rare for a contract to be terminated in this way. Its chief officer, Dr Amanda Sullivan, said: “We are sorry to patients whose experience at the practice fell short of the standards we expect.

“To make sure routine services can continue, we have taken immediate steps to provide a temporary service, operated by local GPs, and managed by commissioners. Patients will not need to transfer to another GP surgery and should not experience any disruption as a result of this change.

“In the meantime, we are looking to commission a long-term partnership to enable patients who use the Kirkby practice in the future to benefit from additional GP services, such as minor surgery and diagnostic services.”

CNCS, which is based in Mansfield, also runs the Primary Care 24 service, on behalf of the CCG, at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton. This is a walk-in centre where patients can see a GP, rather than go to accident and emergency.