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Foundation trust takes over another GP practice in crisis town

Foundation trust takes over another GP practice in crisis town
By Lea Legraien
11 June 2019

An NHS foundation trust in North Yorkshire has taken over another GP practice in Bridlington, which has been badly hit by the GP recruitment crisis, it has emerged.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has announced it will now run Manor House Surgery in Providence Way, Bridlington, meaning the trust will provide GP services to around 45,000 people in Bridlington, Flamborough and neighbouring areas.

A local GP has warned about the ‘disproportionate’ numbers of practices losing their independent partnership model status in deprived areas such as Bridlington.

Our sister publication Pulse, where this story was first published, previously found that Bridlington, a coastal town with an influx of tourists in the summer months, has been struggling with severe GP shortages, prompting the practices serving the town’s 35,000 registered patients to close their lists in 2016.

The acquisition adds to the trust’s portfolio of seven practices – including Northpoint Medical Practice and Princes Medical Centre in Hull, Field House Surgery in Bridlington, Peeler House Surgery in Hessle, Market Weighton Group Practice and the Chestnuts and Hallgate surgeries in Cottingham.

The trust said the takeover aligns with its vision to be ‘a multi-speciality health and social care teaching provider’ and comes after ‘months of careful planning between both parties’.

Dr Tom Milligan, a GP partner at Practice One, Bridlington, said: ‘Humber Teaching NHS FT are a local NHS trust who have acted to stabilise a number of practices regionally. My concern is the disproportionate numbers of practices losing independent partnership model status in areas of increased health inequality and deprivation.

‘Three out of five previously independent practices have chosen this route since 2014. National policies including the development of primary care networks have little regard for health inequality and this was highlighted by the Kings Fund in September 2018. If we want our town to be stabilised we need recognition of the increasing difficulty of treating a higher deprivation area and more support for recruitment and funding for innovative ways to tackle local health needs.’

Dr Alan Francis, outgoing GP partner at Manor House Surgery, said his practice hoped to be bought by the trust in a bid to increase sustainability.

He said: ‘The partners of Manor House Surgery approached Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, with a view to acquisition. This was very much a positive move, aimed at improving sustainability for the practice, for our patients, and for the wider GP community in Bridlington.

‘The partners and Humber share common goals about maintaining a quality service, whilst supporting staff development and using skill mix to help address workforce shortages, and being active leads in medical education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

‘These goals are better served by working at scale, and there is a clear national drive towards this same direction. We see the move as a very positive one, and are excited about our future working together.’

Humber Teaching Foundation Trust chief operating officer Lynn Parkinson said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Manor House surgery, its staff and patients to the trust’s portfolio of primary care services.

‘We’re very excited about working closely with the surgery’s team to build on their success as we all strive to deliver the highest quality service for our patients.’

Practice takeovers by NHS hospitals have occured in various parts of the country, with varying results.

Last year, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust took over a 5,000-patient GP practice, making it the ninth practice to come under the running of the hospital – which now has 70,000 GP patients and employs 43 GPs.

Meanwhile, Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust was forced to close a 5,000-patient GP practice last summer because of ‘significant difficulties’ recruiting GPs and an ‘over-reliance’ on locums.

This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.

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