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Troubled practice closes after CCG fails to find permanent provider

by Valeria Fiore
11 October 2018

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A GP practice in Redditch, West Midlands will close at the end of the year after a failure to find a provider to take over the practice, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG has announced.

The CCG said it did everything possible to keep Woodrow Medical Centre open, but could not find a permanent clinical provider, resulting in the decision to close the practice in December.

Patients have been advised to look for another practice before the end of the year.

Troubled practice

Woodrow Medical Centre, which offers GP services to almost 4,000 patients, was rated inadequate overall by the CQC.

In March, the regulator took urgent legal action to remove the registration of the provider and protect patients’ safety.

According to the CQC’s report, published in June, the practice manager said ‘that the partners displayed a bias towards staff and as practice manager they had little authority to make decisions’.

In response to the CQC’s action, the CCG found an interim provider to continue to offer the services from the practice but was unable to secure a long-term provider.

The practice has declined to comment.

Smaller practices – the wider picture

The CCG said smaller practices are finding it difficult to survive as they struggle to retain and attract staff and ‘ensure their practices remain financially viable’.

According to an FOI by our sister publication Pulse, smaller practices are also less likely to receive financial support from NHS England’s General Practice Resilience Programme.

A separate FOI request by Pulse also found that 76% of practices that closed in 2016 and 2017 were small, with fewer than 3,000 patients on their lists, a similar trend to that recorded between 2013 and 2015.

NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG chairman Dr Richard Davies said: ‘It is important to note that there is growing evidence across the country that GP practices with fewer than 6,000 patients, like Woodrow Medical Centre, are finding it increasingly more difficult to remain sustainable.’

A spokesperson added that the CCG is ‘committed to supporting practices of all list sizes’ and is encouraging practices to work together in neighbourhood teams.