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GP surgery in Reading faces staffing issues resulting in closure

23 May 2018

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A GP surgery in Reading has struggled to recruit practice staff and as a result has had to hand back its contract.

Priory Avenue Surgery in Caversham will close on 30 June 2018, after the current APMS provider of GP services One Medical Group failed to recruit permanent GPs and practice staff, NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said in a statement published today (23 May).

By mutual agreement, the CCG and the AMPS provider decided to terminate the practice’s contract, which services had been provided by One Medical group since 2016.

Small patients’ list size

NHS Berkshire West CCG said that the practice’s patient list, which provides care to around 6,800 patients, is too small to ‘attract staff and offer the full range of primary care services going forward’.

They are inviting patients to join neighbouring surgeries that are currently accepting new patients, by mid-June, to ensure nobody is left with no access to primary care services.

Chief officer at Berkshire West CCG Dr Cathy Winfield said: ‘It is always a difficult decision to recommend the closure of a surgery but we feel in the circumstances that Priory Avenue patients will be best served by being able to access care from another surgery within their locality.

‘We will be working closely with local practices, GPs and patients to make sure that everyone continues to have access to high quality general practice services.’

One Medical Group has been approached for comment on staff movements after the practice closes. 

First practice to exit special measures

Priory Avenue Surgery was the first practice to exit special measures back in 2015, after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) praised the new leadership structure in place, stating that staff felt supported by the management.

The practice improved its rating within nine months of having its contract temporarily taken over by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

However, the practice went back into special measures after an inspection in January 2017, and was rated as ‘requires improvements’ after the latest CQC inspection in January 2018.

In a report published in April 2018, the CQC raised concerns regarding the cleanliness of the practice, and the failure to deal with clinical correspondence in a timely manner. 

A spokesperson for One Medical Group said: ‘We have been in discussions with North West Reading CCG since last summer over our Priory Avenue contract.

‘The practice will continue to operate as normal and provide a full service to patients from Priory Avenue Surgery until our contract end date of 30th June.’