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Media Briefing: St Luke’s Medical Practice, Stroud

Following a decision made this month, this briefing provides an update regarding the St Luke’s Medical Practice and the support we are making available to patients.

Background

Some time ago, NHS England received notification of the retirement of two GP partners at the practice, which had the potential to significantly affect the running of the practice.

Following unsuccessful efforts to recruit replacements, including those with anthroposophic expertise or interest and after careful consideration, the practice gave notice on their contract with the NHS with effect from 30 September 2015.

Since then, the CCG has been working with the Practice to explore options for continued GP services for patients.

Decision

Commenting on recent events, NHS Gloucestershire CCG’s Director of Locality Development and Primary Care, Helen Goodey said:

“We believe that everything that could have been done has been done to secure the future of the practice.

We have supported the practice in holding proactive discussions with local GP practices in the area over a possible merger, including the potential for NHS GP services to continue from the St Luke’s premises after the end of the six month notice period.

The practice also wrote out to all GP practices across Gloucestershire to seek expressions of interest from them for a potential merger.

Unfortunately, despite all the hard work from everyone involved, and through no fault of any party, this has not been successful.

No solution has been achieved to allow NHS services to continue to be offered by the practice or from the premises.”

The GP surgery at St Luke’s Medical Centre, and the branch surgery in *Tuffley, will therefore be closing on 30 September 2015.

A number of reasons have contributed to this decision. The main ones are the relatively small number of patients registered with the practice and the fact that they are spread over a large geographical area, the finances of the practice and their problems with recruiting GPs, including those with anthroposophic expertise or interest.

Senior Partner at St Luke’s Medical Practice, Dr Michael Evans said:

“This has been a very difficult decision, but under the circumstances there really was no other option. A number of avenues were explored and we have appreciated the support of the CCG in recent weeks – they have worked hard with us to find a solution.

St Luke’s has been able to provide anthroposophic medicine within the NHS for 67 years. It has been a privilege to contribute to this service and sad that it can’t continue.

We would like to thank all our patients – it has been a pleasure and a privilege to care for them. We wish them well for the future.

Both the practice and the CCG are committed to achieving the best outcome for all patients and the CCG will make sure that they have access to local GP services after the end of September.”

What the decision means for patients

The CCG and St Luke’s medical practice have set out what this will mean for patients and the steps being taken to support them.

Helen Goodey added: “We have talked to all the GP practices in the area and almost all will be able to take on new patients.

A letter has been sent to patients with reassurance that everyone will be able to register with a practice near to where they live. However, these practices will only provide conventional (allopathic) NHS services, as they do not have the expertise to prescribe anthroposophic medicines.

Together with the patient letter, we have provided a fact sheet, which includes details of the practices willing to accept new patients and other sources of information and advice, including a dedicated telephone number to call to start the registration process.

The telephone number for patients is: 0800 019 3276 – Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm), with extended hours to 7pm on Wednesdays. Patients will be able to leave a message outside of these times.

We would like to thank the practice participation group and Healthwatch Gloucestershire for their helpful advice in developing the patient communication.

The CCG recognises the contribution that the practice has made to the provision of a wide range of healthcare over many years and also the efforts made by them over recent months to support service continuity.”

Information about anthroposophic medical and therapy services in the local area will also be made available in both surgeries and on the St Luke’s Practice website.

*Last year, the practice consulted with patients regarding the closure of the Tuffley Branch Surgery.   

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