Uncertainty for 3,000 patients as GP scraps contract with NHS

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Chronicle Live

The future of a Sunderland GP practice has been thrown into doubt after doctors terminated their contract with the NHS, the Chronicle Live reports.

The Conishead Medical Group, in Ryhope, will end its contract with Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group at the end of the year – leaving 3,000 patients facing an uncertain future.

Sunderland health chiefs say they are now taking steps to ensure access to services for GP services for the practice’s patients.

Doctors at the practice, on Black Road, Ryhope, had been in discussions with another nearby practice with a view to a merger, but have said they do not feel able to take this option forward.

Debbie Burnicle, deputy chief officer at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The partners at Conishead practice have taken a difficult decision to bring their contract to an end on December 31.

“This may be unsettling for patients, but we would like to reassure everyone that they can continue to use the practice in the usual way until the end of December.

“We are looking at the best way to ensure that patients have access to a GP practice after that date.

 “That means offering patients a chance to ask questions and share their views, and also supporting the practice team to ensure services are not affected while we work towards a long-term solution.

“We are committed to ensuring that high quality GP services are in place for all patients in Sunderland, and the next step is to find the best way forward for patients currently registered with the Conishead practice.”

The CCG has written to all patients registered at the practice, providing an update and inviting them to complete a survey or attend a drop-in session where they can ask questions.

Ms Burnicle said: “We will write to patients with a further update as we progress with this work.

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“In the meantime, if anyone is concerned and would like to discuss the practice with an independent organisation, Healthwatch Sunderland would be pleased to help.”

Dr Mike Hipwell of Conishead Medical Group said: “We have been proud to serve the community in Ryhope for more than thirteen years, so this was an immensely difficult decision for us to take. We have explored different options over the past year but we face increasing pressures on the service which are especially difficult for a practice of our size.

“Our colleagues at the CCG are now working to ensure there is a service provided after the end of the year, and until then we will continue to care for our patients as we always have.”