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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Future of the Clover Group of GPs' Surgeries

The future of the Clover Group, which runs the GPs' surgeries at Darnall Primary Care Centre and the Highgate Surgery in Tinsley, is in serious doubt. NHS England is putting the services which the Clover Group provides out to tender. The lowest bid is likely to win.

We realise that many people will feel that it is already too difficult to get an appointment to see a doctor or nurse practitioner and will wonder whether putting the Clover Group under new ownership might actually make things better! This is unlikely to happen, however, because there is less money on the table and the new owners could be a national or international group of doctors and investors who will not know anything about the needs of local people. 

We believe that the best way to deal with unacceptable waiting times is to talk to the Clover Group about this and ask them to make some changes, not to take a gamble that new owners might provide a better service.

The Clover Group has invested a lot of energy and resources in supporting local programmes that help patients to cope with diabetes, mental health issues, keeping fit and healthy living. This cuts down on the amount of time patients need to spend with GPs and nurses and saves money that can be spent on other important things. 

It is also exactly what NHS England have said GPs ought to be doing all over the country, to reduce the growing pressures on their services and make their resources go further. Unfortunately, all of this will be put at risk if a new owner comes in who is unaware of what has been happening.

The government has made it compulsory for the Clover Practice to be put out to tender, and there is nothing we can do to prevent this unless there is a change in the law. What we can do, however, is to ask NHS England to consult us about it first, so that the design of the tender can take what is happening here into account.

You can read more about this on Professor Mark Gamsu's blog. He is a visiting professor at Leeds Beckett University and a leading expert on involving local communities in public health.

Send us a tweet or an email if you live in Darnall or Tinsley and agree that you would like to be consulted. Better still, contact NHS England by tweeting to @NHSEngland or email . Tell them you have read Darnall Forum's blog and you support what it says and want to know when the consultation is going to start.

1 comment:

S H Aziz said...

Unfortunately, the Clover Group have done little in the last year or so to sort the many problems that patients face including appointments. There is also a staffing issue at the DPCC not only in terms of a high turnover of doctors but also issues with the attitude and training of reception staff (which the Clover Group knows about but have failed to address)