[W]hitehaven Medical Centre has reluctantly taken the decision to terminate its contract. This means from 31 July 2018 4,200 patients registered there will no longer be able to be seen by the practice.
A process involving NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England is now underway to ensure the safe care of those patients, and a system to ensure each patient is assigned to a new GP practice has started.
Patients will be receiving a letter from NHS England explaining the next steps.
Dr Amanda Boardman, lead GP with NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Our first priority is to ensure patients have access to a GP service, and in particular to ensure the right support is given to vulnerable patients. We are working with the practice to ensure the best outcome for patients and to support staff.
“We understand there will be worrying for many people who are concerned about their care and we would reassure them that while this is far from ideal, we are working to put arrangements in place and we will be in touch with everyone as soon as we can.
“This will be a huge piece of work and we are focusing our team on this as a priority. We also know that this will have an impact on neighbouring GP Practices and potentially on other acute and community health services. We are supporting those teams and acknowledge the significant challenges this will create for many of our colleagues.”
Patients are encouraged to continue to use the practice as normal until they are contacted individually about their new arrangements.
Many common ailments can be treated following advice from your local pharmacy or by calling NHS 111.
Primary care is facing increasing demand and we know there are challenges recruiting GPs and locums. This highlights the vulnerability of single-handed GP practices, leaving them less resilient.
Patients who are concerned can call 01946 853326.