NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is writing to patients at six Liverpool GP practices to let them know that the organisation which runs them has given notice on its fixed-term contracts.
Primary Care Connect – a not-for-profit company set up by Liverpool GPs – will stop managing the practices by the end of June 2019.
The six Primary Care Connect practices are:
1. Primary Care Connect Everton Road
2. Primary Care Connect Anfield Health
3. Primary Care Connect Garston
4. Primary Care Connect Netherley Health Centre
5. Primary Care Connect West Speke
6. Primary Care Connect Park View
Primary Care Connect Everton Road, Primary Care Connect Anfield Health and Primary Care Connect Garston all share buildings with other GP practices but these are separate to Primary Care Connect – none of these other practices are affected.
NHS Liverpool CCG, which plans NHS care for the city, including contracts for GP services, needs to look at whether it is likely to be able to find someone else to run each practice, or whether to transfer patients to other practices nearby. The same approach might not be followed for all six; the CCG’s decision needs to be based on the circumstances of each practice and what is in the best interests of its patients.
The CCG is currently in the process of writing to all Primary Care Connect patients to explain the steps it is taking to decide what happens next, and invite people to share their views. These letters should arrive in the next week.
Primary Care Connect holds fixed-term contracts until the end of March 2020, but is bringing them to an end early because of problems recruiting permanent doctors. It is having to rely on temporary doctors, known as locums, which can make it harder to provide the quality of care patients need, or the consistency of care many want. Locums are also more expensive than permanent GPs, which has created financial problems. This is even more challenging because Primary Care Connect’s practices have relatively small lists of patients, and all GP practices are paid based on the number of patients that are registered with them.
Dr Fiona Lemmens, a Liverpool GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that this news will cause concern for patients, and we are working hard to get to a decision about what happens next, so that we minimise any uncertainty.
“For the time being, Primary Care Connect patients should continue to use their practice in exactly the same way they do now – they don’t need to do anything differently or take any immediate action.”
“It’s really important to stress that however we decide to move forward with these practices, all Liverpool patients will continue to have a GP practice. There is no suggestion of reducing GP services in Liverpool; this process is purely about which practices those services are provided from.”
As soon as a final decision has been made the CCG will write to patients again to update them. This is likely to be during March.
Primary Care Connect patients can share their views or raise questions in any of the following ways:
By email: email@example.com
In person at a drop-in session being arranged for each practice (details will be in the letter patients receive)
By phone: 0151 247 6409
By writing to: Engagement team, NHS Liverpool CCG, 5th floor, The Department, 2 Renshaw Street, Liverpool, L1 2SA
By texting: 07920 206 386