Future of three GP surgeries to be 'decided by December'
PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 September 2019
Health bosses in north Essex have vowed to safeguard the long-term future of three GP surgeries taking care of tens of thousands of patients.
Board members at the North East Essex clinical commissioning group have pledged to determine long-term leadership arrangements for the Frinton Road Medical Practice in Holland-on-Sea, Epping Close Surgery in Clacton-on-Sea and Green Elms Medical Centre in Jaywick, after all three were given 28 days' notice to improve at the end of July.
A fourth practice, the Caradoc Surgery in Frinton, had originally been operated by the same community interest company - Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) - as the other three surgeries. But in July, the firm had its contract terminated with Caradoc over "patient safety issues".
Caradoc is now being run by the nearby Ranworth Surgery, to ensure its 7,500 patients have continued care.
Yesterday, the NECCG entered an agreement with ACE to ensure long-term leadership arrangements for the other three practices would be agreed by December.
Chief executive Ed Garratt said: "Firstly, we would like to thank ACE for working so positively in the transition period at Caradoc.
"We are determined to drive improvements for our patients and we know ACE is working very hard on implementing improvements.
"We will be working to ensure that by December we secure sustainable long-term leadership for these three practices."
In the meantime, NEECCG workers will ensure the services are improving.
They will also look for alternatives if they fail to reach an arrangement between now and December, so a contingency plan is in place for the more than 15,000 patients under the care of the three surgeries.
Clacton MP Giles Watling said he "warmly welcomes" the move.
"This is excellent progress, especially given that the remedy to the poor service has, so far, been painfully slow," he said.
"We are now seeing very real and tangible change. I also thank all residents for their patience, and I hope that, there is an agreement in place for the three practices to be under improved leadership."
David Harrison, ACE's executive chairman, said: "Our plan is designed to deliver demonstrable improvements. This will include an independent assessment of improvements made between now and December."