Liverpool-based non-profit Primary Care Connect has bowed to ongoing recruitment issues and will cease the management of six practices in the city from June this year.
The practices who have been informed that Primary Care Connect – set up by a group of Liverpool GPs – has given notice on its fixed-term contracts are Everton Road; Anfield Health; Garston; Netherley Health Centre; West Speke; and Park View.
The Everton Road, Garston, Anfield Health share premises with other GP practices, neither of which will be affected by the decision.
The contracts were due to run until March next year but have been brought to an end because of financial problems.
NHS Liverpool CCG said the heavy reliance on more expensive locum GPs, due to a dwindling permanent staff, has resulted in strained resources across the practices.
It added that the use of locums was also affecting continuity of care for patients, making it more difficult to offer the quality and consistency of care that patients need.
NHS Liverpool CCG is looking to find new contracts for the practices individually, but is also considering transferring the patients to other practice nearby.
A statement from the CCG added that the same approach might not be followed for all six and that the circumstances of each will be evaluated separately.
The CCG is now in the process of writing to all patients at the six practice to inform them of what the next steps will be, and invite them to share their views on what should happen.
Chair of NHS Liverpool CCG, Dr Fiona Lemmens, said: ‘We know that this news will cause concern for patients, and we are working hard to get to a decision about what happens next, so that we minimise any uncertainty.
‘It’s really important to stress that however we decide to move forward with these practices, all Liverpool patients will continue to have a GP practice.
There is no suggestion of reducing GP services in Liverpool; this process is purely about which practices those services are provided from.’