GP surgery blasts ‘bullying’ health board over claim it’s ‘at risk’

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Daily Post

Betsi chiefs deny claims they want to ‘destroy independent general practice’ across North Wales, the Daily Post reports.

A GP practice has blasted health chiefs who claimed the surgery’s future was ‘at risk’.

Managers of Gardden Road surgery in Rhosllanerchrugog said the claims by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCUHB) were ‘completely false’ and accused them of ‘bullying’.

And in a further allegation practice managers claimed the health board were aiming to destroy ‘any independent general practice in North Wales’.

The claims were strongly denied by BCUHB chiefs who said they were working with Gardden Road ‘to address performance issues in relation to the practice’s prescribing rates’.

And they insisted they were ‘fully supportive of independent general practice’ while working to recruit more GPs to work in North Wales.

The row erupted after BCUHB bosses told Wrexham councillors at a meeting, the futures of seven GP practices were at risk in the county with a further four across the rest of North Wales, as fears of a doctors’ crisis continue.

BCUHB area medical director, Dr Gareth Bowdler specifically said the future of Gardden Road and the Strathmore practice in Wrexham were at risk.

Gardden Road practice manager Tracey Clark blasted the claim as ‘scandalous’ and ‘frightening for our patients and staff’.

Rachel Barnes, advanced practice nurse for the surgery, added they were fully staffed and found the claim ‘shocking’.

In a statement the practice added: “We feel that this is part of the bullying/intimidation which has gone on for years in which there is the aim of destroying any independent general practice in North Wales. We wish to re-assure our patients that we have a healthy number of GP’s/nursing and administration staff, and we are much better covered than any of the managed practices run by BCUHB.

“We find such a statement astounding especially in light of doctors leaving their own practices to work for BCUHB as a sideline, when it is known that all surgeries are struggling for cover, with managed practices with up to 8500 patients left with just one doctor on occasions.”

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Dr Bowdler said: “We are working with the practice to address performance issues in relation to prescribing rates. Ensuring all practices are compliant with their NHS contracts is in the wider interest of all patients, clinicians and other primary care providers.

“We are fully supportive of independent general practice, and invest significant time and effort offering support to our GPs. We continue to work hard to address the national challenge of GP recruitment and the changing nature of general practice.”

Yesterday a protest was staged in Wrexham over the standard of service at the Pen-y-Maes practice in Gwersyllt, taken over by the health board after the practice handed back its contract.

BCUHB said it will tender to replace doctors who hand back their contract and step in to take over services for patients if they can’t find anybody to take it over.

A spokesman for the Strathmore practice said: “We have no plans to hand back our contract back at this time. We are struggling to recruit GPs, so we ask patients to bear with us and help us with our already overstretched services.”

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