Health leaders have announced that the Holywell Medical Group will no longer be able to provide GP services for patients in Chesterfield and Staveley after Thursday, May 14.
The medical group hit the headlines in the Derbyshire Times after being inundated with complaints from disgruntled patients who claimed they struggled to get appointments, records were not updated and illnesses were misdiagnosed.
The Derbyshire health leaders have announced that from Friday, May 15, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in the form of Royal Primary Care, will be responsible for providing GP services to all patients registered with the Holywell Medical Group in Chesterfield and Staveley.
Due to what health leaders have described as “exceptional circumstances”, Holywell Medical Group will no longer be able to provide GP services after Thursday, May 14.
This is an unexpected development and to ensure a safe and sustainable service continues for patients, Royal Primary Care has been commissioned to provide an emergency caretaker service until March 31, 2016.
Dr Paul Cook, former Medical Director at Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust and GP at Welbeck Road Health Centre, will act in an advisory capacity to support the caretaker arrangement.
Employees of Holywell Medical Group have been told of the exceptional circumstances in a staff meeting held yesterday and patients have been notified in a letter from NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England and Royal Primary Care that was posted first-class yesterday.
NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group will commission services from three of the five sites.
This is to preserve services and to help secure a more sustainable service model in the face of national shortages of medical and other primary care professionals.
The sites that will continue to offer full services for all Holywell Medical Group patients are:
The Grange Family Health Centre, Stubbing Road, Grangewood; Rectory Surgery, Rectory Road, Staveley; Inkersall Family Medical Centre, Attlee Road, Inkersall.
Holywell House and Barrow Hill surgeries will close on Thursday, May 14.
Patients will however be able to continue to access services at any of the other three surgeries.
To help ensure continuity of care and services existing staff will have the opportunity to transfer to CRHFT and the majority of staff are expected to do this.
Dr Ben Milton, Chairman of NHS North Derbyshire CCG and GP at Darley Dale Medical Centre, said: “The news that Holywell Medical Group would no longer be able to provide GP services was unexpected and we appreciate this may cause concern to patients.
“However, we wish to assure every patient that our priority is to make sure a safe and sustainable service continues and that any potential disruption to clinical services is kept to a minimum.
“We believe that Royal Primary Care will be an excellent caretaker provider and see this as a good opportunity to forge stronger links between GP surgeries and local hospitals and support the principle aim of our local
21st Century Joined Up Care programme which aims to bring services closer together”.
Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to step in to sustain these services for local people and we’re looking forward to bringing GP, primary care and hospital services together in ways that will benefit all our patients.
“We’re already looking at ways we can strengthen what’s available at the three surgeries and we hope that patients will share their experiences, and work with us, to bring about change and improvement”.
Ken Deacon, Medical Director for NHS England in Derbyshire, said: “We appreciate this is an unexpected change for patients and would like to assure them that we and all the other health partners will continue to work together to ensure all patients have access to services which are safe, clinically effective and offer a good experience”.
Holywell Medical Group Senior Partner Dr Nadine Kale said: “The partners have been exploring ways of integrating care with other local healthcare providers for some time.
“However, ongoing difficulties to recruit health professionals, particularly GPs, and the financial pressures of having to use more locum doctors has driven this urgent change.
“This is the first integration of Primary and Secondary care in the North Derbyshire area and it is an exciting new challenge.
“The support provided by the Chesterfield Royal Hospital will free up more GP time to see patients which was previously spent on managing the practice”.
Patients that are registered with Holywell Medical Group do not need to do anything as a result of the transition to Royal Primary Care. For details about appointments, enquiries and queries, patients are advised to read the important information section at the end of the letter they will have received from Royal Primary Care.
Dedicated phone lines have been set up by Royal Primary Care to help with any questions patients may have that have not been answered in the letter they have received.
The phone lines will be open 8am-8pm from Tuesday, May 12, through to Sunday, May 17.
There are four numbers patients can call: 01246 512 477; 01246 512 475; 01246 512 533 and 01246 512 755.
Patients wishing to share their concerns with the Derbyshire Times are urged to contact reporter Jon Cooper on 01246 504524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.