Circuit Lane Surgery in Southcote will now be run by another local NHS practice after Reading health leaders decided to end its contract with the Leeds-based company OneMedicalGroup (OMG), which had run the troubled surgery for the past 19 months.
Western Elms Surgery has been chosen by North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group (NWRCCG) to manage Circuit Lane from 1 April 2018. The CCG has sent all Circuit Lane patients a letter, dated 21 March 2018, about the move. The surgery and its services will remain on the Circuit Lane site and patients will be automatically transferred over to Western Elms’ patient list, unless they seek to change to a different GP practice.
The surgery’s patient participation group (PPG) and Healthwatch Reading were included in discussions about which organisation should take over Circuit Lane.
“Western Elms Surgery has an excellent reputation locally, a good CQC rating and performs well on national measures,” the letter to patients, from NWRCCG chief officer Cathy Winfield, states. “The GPs at Western Elms are enthusiastic about providing services at Circuit Lane and will be looking to work with existing Circuit Lane staff and patients to improve the services available.”
The surgery has been in ‘special measures’ since April 2017, after independent inspectors from the Care Quality Commission went in to investigate poor care reported by Healthwatch Reading and patients. OMG had found it difficult to recruit permanent GPs and other staff’ and so a ‘mutual decision’ had been made with OMG to end the contract, the letter adds.
No decision has yet been announced about the future of Priory Avenue Surgery in Caversham, which OMG has also run since 1 September 2016.
OMG had received emergency funding from local NHS budgets of hundreds of thousands of pounds, on top of the original sum it was paid to run the service, to keep the surgery open during its crisis. This extra money was used mostly to pay high locum GP costs at both surgeries. There had also been a high turnover of management staff.
- On 5 April 2018, OMG sent Healthwatch Reading the following statement:
“The Circuit Lane Surgery has been facing deep rooted service delivery issues for over four years before OneMedicalGroup was appointed in late 2016. The existing challenges faced by the practice and its dedicated team is a result of the depth of the historical problems.
“OneMedicalGroup was appointed to operate the services by Reading CCG in September 2016 with the aim of introducing a new model of care with the long-term objective of delivering a better, high quality service for patients focused on a multi-disciplinary team.
“Prior to taking on the contract, OneMedicalGroup was not made aware of the challenges the practice was facing, nor was it informed of the substantial backlog in clinical administration or lack of embedded processes. Early on in the contract in October 2016, OneMedicalGroup flagged its concerns about these issues and has worked hard with the CCG to find ways to address this and restore stability to both local practices. It was at this point the group flagged that should additional resources not be forthcoming, the contracts would not be sustainable.
“During the contract, significant improvements have been made in the care offered to patients. For instance, over 3,000 medication reviews, which had not been completed prior to the group taking on the contracts, have now been undertaken and finalised. This is just one of the many areas of significant backlog that OneMedicalGroup has been working to rectify.
“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the team and the CCG, the level of turnaround required has not been achievable within the funding envelope the CCG can afford. OneMedicalGroup has subsequently made the difficult decision to withdraw from the contracts, having agreed with the CCG to terminate the contract at a mutually agreed date in 2018.
“The above decision is independent from CQC inspections, however for the last 12 months, the CQC has undertaken six inspections at each surgery. This increased pressure on the teams did not help the process and OneMedicalGroup has raised these concerns formally with the CQC.
“Every community’s primary care needs are different and given the challenges faced and level of change required, OneMedicalGroup and North West Reading CCG have agreed it is in the best interests of patients to look to a different primary care solution/provider/s to take on the services.
“We would like to thank our dedicated team and our patients for their support during the past 16 months. We will continue to work positively with North West Reading CCG to handover the running of the practices and make it workable for the patient population during the handover process.”