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Two 2,000-patient GP practices set to close for being ‘too small’

by Valeria Fiore
11 January 2018

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Two GP surgeries will close at the end of February because they are ‘too small’ to stay open, a CCG has decided.

The decision followed NHS East Lancashire CCG’s review of the APMS contract held by provider East Lancashire Medical Services (ELMS).

It will result in the closure of Horsfield Surgery in Colne and Eagle Surgery in Accrington, East Lancashire, each of which has around 2,000 patients on their lists.

ELMS continues to run two larger GP practices in the area, located in Nelson and Brierfield.

NHS East Lancashire CCG said they had hoped for the four practices to merge into one but the distance among the different sites would have wasted valuable time that medical staff could have spent with patients.

It said in a statement: ‘The review came about due to the end of the contract between the CCG and ELMS and will see the two GP sites close as they have been found to be too small to continue.’

NHS East Lancashire CCG chief officer Mark Youlton said: ‘We had hoped that the four sites could be brought together to offer the benefits of a larger practice but because of the distances between each of the sites it was clear that staff could end up spending valuable time travelling between sites or would not be equally available to all registered patients.

‘It is definitely preferable and more efficient for doctors and nurses to be seeing patients in appointments rather than travelling around East Lancashire.’

He added that the CCG is working with neighbouring GP practices ‘to ensure that they are supported to manage potential new registrations’.

ELMS said that the decision was taken to guarantee ‘timely access to a range of quality GP services at our two larger practices’.

Medical director at ELMS Dr Paul Fourie said: ‘We are absolutely committed to supporting those patients affected by this process to either remain registered with our federated practice or registering with another practice, closer to home.

‘As a responsible employer, we are working closely with staff from those practices, to ensure that any displaced employees will be offered the opportunity to take on roles elsewhere within the company, where those roles exist.’

In total, some 20,000 patients are registered with the four practices run by the APMS-contracted provider in the area.