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Shropdoc staff could face redundancies

Health | Published:

Staff at Shropshire's out-of-hours GP service Shropdoc could be facing redundancies – it has been revealed today.

Russell Muirhead, chairman of Shropdoc, said it was under a number of pressures including financial but would ensure patients still received the highest levels of care.

He said they would be looking at all options and would be doing everything possible to avoid redundancies but they could not be ruled out.

A period of individual consultation is due to begin shortly with those employees who are at risk of redundancy.

If redundancies are made, the number expected is around six, a total of under two per cent of the workforce, and variations to work patterns and roles for approximately seven staff.

Some of the pressures on the service include; an increasing workload, patient volumes and complexity/frailty, a reduction in GP availability, limited primary care nurse pool to recruit from, no significant out of hours contract value increase since 2004 and increased operating costs.

The service has actively sought to introduce measures to narrow the gap between contract income and expenditure including introducing a much tighter expenses and expenditure process.

Russell Muirhead, chair of Shropdoc, said the service would not be embarking on redundancies unless it was totally necessary to ensure the smooth and continued running of the business.

He said: "No decisions have yet been taken, and will not be made until consultation has been concluded.

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"The recovery plan also includes addressing the shortfall in the cost of out of hours provision with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Local Health Board.

"It details even tighter financial controls on expenses, a comprehensive Urgent Care Practitioner programme to develop a sustainable clinical workforce, identification and successful bidding for new services and income streams and emphasising the need for resolution of outstanding contractual negotiations with commissioners.

"Both CCGs and the Powys LHB have been very supportive and are continuing to help Shropdoc manage this situation.

"All of these measures will cumulatively contribute to a secure future for Shropdoc."

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Shropdoc, which is made up of 270 GP members from Shropshire and Powys, was recently rated as the best in England.

Inspectors from Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the provider as outstanding.

The public body judged the service, which has a patient population of over half a million people in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Powys, as outstanding in the areas of leadership, care and responsiveness for its patients.

It means Shropdoc is just the second provider of out of hours services in England to receive an outstanding rating.

Amy Downward

By Amy Downward
@AmyD_star

Based at the head office in Ketley covering the north Shropshire area.

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