Assurances sought over new Hartlepool GP practices contract

Hartfields Medical Centre
Hartfields Medical Centre
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Councillors are seeking assurances from local health chiefs over a new GP contract resulting in the closure of one Hartlepool surgery.

Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has offered a contract to a new provider to run Wynyard Road and Hartfields medical centres.

But Fens Medical Centre is to close with the displacement of 2,729 patients.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee has told the CCG it wants assurances on a number of issues over the new arrangements.

They include asking for details about how many GPs will cover the new patient list, opening hours, and if the new provider will be able to cope with requirements to provide appointments outside of normal hours.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, chair of the audit committee, said: “As a scrutiny committee it is well within our remit to ask for assurances from the CCG that the contract that they are going to award is fit for purpose.

“We are concerned that possibly one provider may end up with a patient list which would represent more than 25% of the population of Hartlepool.”

Councillor Brenda Harrison, whose former surgery closed suddenly, said: “I worry that in the future doctors are under so much pressure that this sort of thing will happen more and more frequently.

“It then puts a lot of work onto the next surgery that you go into and so on and so on.”

The CCG provided an update of plans to install the new provider after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ruled out an official request by the council to review the plans.

Director of commissioning Karen Hawkins said it was unable to confirm who the new provider is until after March 27.

Ms Hawkins assured the Hartfields Patient Participation Group that the new service would be the same as it is now at Hartfields and Wynyard Road.

She added the CCG will work with the provider prior to starting the contract to make sure the firm can provide what is expected .