Patients demand answers after late GP takeover letters arrive when move already complete

Hartfields Patient Participation Group chair Liz Carroll and group member Jeff Stephens outside Hartlepool Civic Centre
Hartfields Patient Participation Group chair Liz Carroll and group member Jeff Stephens outside Hartlepool Civic Centre
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Patients of GP surgeries are demanding an explanation and apology from health chiefs over communication about a takeover of practices.

Members of the former Fens Medical Centre and Hartfields Patient Participation Group are angry after letters about a transfer to new provider McKenzie Group Practice were not received by patients until after the July 1 takeover happened.

They say that was despite requests and assurances from Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) it would happen well beforehand.

Liz Carroll, chair of the Hartfields PPG, said: “We were given assurances on several occasions that patients would be written to ahead of he contract change telling them what they needed to know and what was happening on July 1 and that didn’t actually happen. The letter was received on July 3.

“It isn’t the positive start that we were hoping for.”

Robert Smith, chair of the Fens Residents’ Association, said patients deserve better consideration.

He said: “As far as I am concerned this has been the sting in the tail of a lengthy and cynical consultation and the Fens should never have been deprived of its medical practice.

“The shambles over the timing of the letter requires both a proper explanation and an apology. Someone needs to be accountable for this.”

Both Mr Smith and Mrs Carroll have asked Hartlepool council’s Audit and Governance Committee to look into it.

Chair of the committee Councillor Ray Martin-Wells said he wrote to the clinical commissioning group last week asking them to urgently address the concerns expressed and to keep him informed.

He said: “I made it clear in my letter that progress on the transfer of patients would continue to be closely monitored, and as such the Audit and Governance Committee would require updates in the future.”

NHS Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The CCG understands Mrs Carroll’s concerns with regard to patients receiving their reminder letter on the July 3 when the new service was in place on the July 1.

“We are working closely with the new provider McKenzie Group Practice to keep patients fully informed and ensure a smooth transition from the existing three separate practices into the new merged practice at Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre and Hartfields Medical Practice.”