A public consultation is underway into the future of three practices in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clincical Commissioning Goup (CCG), which will see the closure of at least one surgery.
Contracts for services provided by Fens Medical Centre, Hartfields Medical Centre and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre in Hartlepool are due to end on 31 March 2017, following a number of short-term extensions.
The CCG has said that further contract extensions are no longer viable because they do not meet the requirements of NHS national policy and the short-term contracts are financially unsustainable in the long-term.
The eight-week consultation is offering the public three options:
- The closure of Hartfields Medical Centre, with one provider across Fens Medical Centre and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre
- The closure of Fens Medical Centre, with one provider across Hartfields Medical Centre and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre
- The closure of both Hartfields Medical Centre and Fens Medical Centre, with one provider at Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre
The consultation follows on from a period of public engagement and campaigning against the closures in 2014 at which time, Pulse reported, Hartfields Medical Centre had been told they could remain open indefinitely, with commissioners promising a new long-term contract.
Ali Wilson, chief officer of NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG said: “The consultation is the next major step towards deciding how services might be delivered. The CCG wants to understand the views of as many patients as possible; and will then develop plans for services which continue to meet local need and are sustainable for the future.
“We have already received a significant amount of interest from patients in how these services are delivered at the three practices.
“In June this year, 2,596 people from a wide range of backgrounds completed a survey and we have taken into account what is most important to patients from this feedback, including keeping services local to patients, preferred opening times and quality of care.”
Ms Wilson added: “Throughout the consultation, we want to reassure patients that there will be no change to the range of services they receive at their practice.”
The CCG has written to all registered patients over the age of 16 with information about the changes and also the ways in which they can have their say. The consultation document is available here.