GPs hand back contracts amid spiralling costs

Doctors at a city GP surgery have said they can no longer run it because of spiralling costs and a lack of funding.

The four GPs at East Barnwell Health Centre in Cambridge said they were handing back their contracts as of October.

They said the surgery had faced "increasing financial challenges" over the past 10 years and it was becoming more difficult to "maintain a financially viable practice".

A spokesperson for NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said it was working "to identify a new provider of these services" at the centre.

The four partners at the clinic, Dr Rachel Harmer, Dr Amine Boualem, Dr Alisdair Macnair and Dr Katherine Mellanby said they had taken the decision "with great sadness".

In a statement on the centre's website, they said the financial challenges had been in "three main areas including an exponential rise in the service charges required to work out of our current NHS Property Services-owned building, inadequate local health funding to meet the needs of our patients and a national contract funding increase well below inflation".

The GPs said they had held "many meetings over several years" with the local NHS leaders to try to "achieve a solution to guarantee our viability going forward".

"Unfortunately, we have not been successful in securing the ongoing funding that we need to continue to provide the level of service that our patients require and deserve."

As of October, they said they would no longer be responsible for running the centre.

They added that the surgery would continue to operate but with "different management in place and some new faces to get to know".

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: "Access to GP services is vital for local communities. That’s why we have already started work to identify a new provider of these services at East Barnwell Health Centre, so that local people can continue to get good quality care from their local surgery now and in the future.

"We would like to reassure patients that they can continue to access services in the same way as they always have during this time, and we will work alongside community groups to ensure that feedback from patients at the surgery is taken into account as part of the procurement process."

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