Future of Bishop's Castle surgery in hands of High Court

The future of a troubled doctors’ surgery which serves 5,000 patients in a town in Shropshire will be decided at the High Court, it has been revealed.

Bishop’s Castle Medical Practice GPs Dr Adrian Fairbanks and Dr Susan Lambert have been in dispute with partner Dr Adrian Penney for almost two years. No date has yet been set for the hearing.

Lawyers have confirmed the dispute – the reasons for which have never been made public – will be settled at a High Court hearing in London during the coming months.

Solicitor Nick Blackbourn, acting on behalf of Dr Penney, said a settlement was reached on Monday between the GPs to allow all three doctors to draw a wage from the surgery’s bank account – something they had not been able to do since late September.

The news comes ahead of a public meeting on Tuesday at Bishop’s Castle Community College where local people will be able to air their feelings about the situation.

Dr Penney has not worked at the surgery in Schoolhouse Lane regularly for almost two years due to the dispute. He wanted to dissolve the partnership in November last year – a move rejected by Doctors Fairbanks and Lambert.

Dr Fairbanks and Dr Lambert then attempted to expel him from the practice and to deny him access to the surgery.

The High Court hearing will resolve whether Dr Fairbanks and Dr Lambert had the right to try and expel Dr Penney from the partnership or if

Dr Penney has been wrongly treated and whether he himself can dissolve the partnership. The High Court action was initiated by Doctors Fairbanks and Lambert.

Mr Blackbourn said: “Dr Penney does not dispute that partners have the power to expel other partners, but he is disputing the reasons why they have tried to expel him”

Dr Fairbanks and Dr Lambert were unable to comment today but have previously said they will do everything they can to save the practice.

The public meeting on Tuesday will start at 6pm and has been organised by officials at Shropshire County Primary Care Trust. It is understood all three doctors involved will be in attendance.