NHS documents have shed more light on the decision to close Maddock Way surgery in Camberwell’s Brandon Estate – £21k a year savings.
As the News has reported, local councillors and MP Neil Coyle are lobbying Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – the arm of the NHS which decides which services to fund in across the borough – to change its decision.
The surgery, rated good overall, has 3,153 registered patients, a number which has declined by seven per cent in the last five years.
Its only GP, Dr Sinha, is due to retire at the end of March and all patients have been told to re-register elsewhere before then.
At a public meeting in December, a representative from the CCG explained that it is so unlikely that any group would take over the practice that they haven’t actively explored alternatives to diving up between other surgeries across the borough.
A report from the Southwark Primary Care Commissioning Committee, from November last year, states that a patient list of 6,000 is not financially viable, that there are no suitable premises to be moved into as the current lease has expired, and “initial engagement with twelve local practices indicates there is capacity within one mile to accommodate a minimum of 13,150 patients at alternative practices”.
A section entitled “what other options were considered?” has been left blank other than “N/A”.
Risks highlighted, however, include the fact that the nearest surgery to Maddock Way – a Nexus surgery – has been in special measures.
Maddock Way is currently operating on a “hold over” basis with the support of landlord Southwark Council, after its lease expired in March 2018.
But the big issue is the finances. The report explains that if the decision is reversed, “The CCG will need to arrange for a caretaker practice pending pre-procurement of the contract.
“This will entail a temporary lease being agreed between a caretaker practice and the landlord, with consequent additional costs that the CCG will need to absorb; and more so because of the very small list size which is likely to be an unattractive proposition for both caretaking and substantive contract providers.”
Furthermore, closing the premises would, the report claims, “potentially deliver savings of £17,282 per annum for reimbursable rent and £4,000 per annum for rates”.
The nearest surgery is seven minutes’ walk away from Maddock Way and the CCG says care would be improved.