Health chiefs disappointment at council decision to ask minister to review GP closure plan

The Fens Medical Centre is due to close by March 31 next year following a review by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group.
The Fens Medical Centre is due to close by March 31 next year following a review by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group.

Health chiefs say they are disappointed at a decision by civic leaders to refer a decision to close a Hartlepool medical centre to a government minister.

Hartlepool Borough Council will formally ask Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP to review a decision to close Fens Medical Centre.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) announced that it is to procure a new contract for one provider to run Wynyard Road and Hartfields medical centres following a review of their contracts in the summer.

But the move will see the closure of the Fens Medical Centre affecting just over 2,700 patients.

The council is appealing on the grounds that the consultation was not good enough and the decision will be to the detriment of health services in the local area.

But the CCG has responded by saying the council’s action will result in more uncertainty for patients of the three practices and has defended its consultation process.

It is unfortunate that the decision taken by the council to refer the outcome will result in a further period of indecision for patients registered at these practices

Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group

A CCG spokesman said: “NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) is disappointed at the decision of Hartlepool Borough Council to refer the outcome of the formal public consultation on the future of services currently provided from Fens, Hartfields and Wynyard Road GP practices to the Secretary of State for Health for review.

“The CCG has fulfilled its duties and has conducted a thorough and robust public consultation process.

“The CCG believes that the decision that has been made is in the best interests of local people and the local NHS, to ensure future delivery of a high quality, safe and sustainable service for patients and people living in the Fens, Hartfields and Wynyard Road areas of Hartlepool.

“It is unfortunate that the decision taken by the council to refer the outcome will result in a further period of indecision for patients registered at these practices.

“The CCG will work with the current providers in order to ensure patients are kept informed during this unsettling period.”

The CCG said the type of contracts the three medical centres operated under had previously been extended and could not be extended beyond next April.

Mr Hunt can dismiss the council’s referral, ask the CCG to look again at the decision, or seek more advice from the The Independent Reconfiguration Panel.