Campaigners consider legal action over decision to close Shrewsbury GP surgery
Campaigners against the closure of a Shrewsbury medical practice are considering a possible legal challenge against the decision.
A public meeting for patients of Whitehall Medical Practice was held in Crowmoor Baptist Church yesterday evening.
They were told that a leading firm of solicitors is considering whether there is enough evidence to apply for a judicial review of the closure decision which was made earlier this year by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Councillor David Vasmer for Underdale said: "The longer the campaign against the closure goes on, the more it becomes clear that the CCG did not follow the guidelines which set out how a medical practice should be closed.
“The CCG took the original decision to close in a private session, but they have refused to reveal the minutes of that meeting even though the original reason for secrecy is no longer relevant.
"When the decision was reviewed in public the chairman announced that a decision had been taken which is hardly the action of a body considering the views of local people.”
The CCG says it had tried to find a new provider to run the GP services at the Monkmoor Road practice through a formal procurement process where interested parties were asked to submit proposals.
Nearly 4,000 patients have been told they must find a new GP before the current service, run by Malling Health, ends on September 30.
Campaigner Dennis Cheese said he wants to know if the CCG considered the Care Quality Commission’s reports into Whitehall and Severn Fields – one of the nearby medical practices which is likely to take a substantial number of Whitehall patients.
“The Care Quality Commission was not happy with Severn Fields,” he said.
“All Whitehall’s services were given a good rating, but Severn Fields only had one good rating, the rest were inadequate or requires improvement. So, was this considered by the CCG? We don’t know.
"As a public body spending public money, they should be held accountable for their decisions. That’s why we are considering the decision to close Whitehall with an application for judicial review.”
But the CCG has assured the proper guideline's were followed.
Mrs Nicky Wilde, NHS Shropshire CCG director of primary care, said: “The contract to provide GP services at Whitehall Medical Practice is ending on Monday, 30 September. The CCG undertook an engagement process with registered patients to determine their views on a way forward, this resulted in a procurement process to secure a new provider.
“The procurement process was run according to NHS guidelines and in collaboration with NHS England and Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit. Unfortunately the procurement produced no bids and therefore with no provider, there was no choice but to close the practice.
“Everything that was required to be undertaken within the ‘Primary Medical Care Policy and Guidance Manual (PGM)’ for Stage 1 and Stage 2 of managing primary medical care contracts coming to an end has been done and NHSE was assured of this.
“To ensure patients were able to continue to receive GP services, letters were sent to patients advising them to register with a new GP. Around 2,000 patients from Whitehall Medical Practice have now registered with a new practice. Those who have not yet registered with a new practice will be written to next week allocating them a new GP practice and explaining to them how and where to register.
“The CCG does not share minutes of confidential meetings. The reason the Primary Care Commissioning Committee meeting was held in a confidential setting was due to the live procurement in process. The outcome and a summary of the confidential meeting was openly reported and discussed in the following Primary Care Commissioning Committee which was held in public.”