Under-threat surgery’s future safe after new care provider steps in

An under-threat GP surgery has been saved after a healthcare group stepped in to become its new care provider.

Cornwall Live reported recently how Veor Partners confirmed that they will withdraw from the contract at Mevagissey Surgery and its branch practice in Gorran Haven with effect from 14 September 2020.

A damning inspection report in April concluded that Mevagissey Surgery, which was narrowly saved from closure after a huge community campaign, was not keeping its patients safe.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) declared Mevagissey Surgery ‘inadequate’ in a number of areas, including providing a safe service as well as being effective, and slammed its leadership. It placed the GP surgery in the fishing village near St Austell in ‘special measures’.

Inspectors said patients were at risk of harm or abuse because the surgery did not carry out criminal records checks on clinical staff.

The CQC report also said its systems and processes did not keep its 5,000-plus patients safe, it did not safely manage medicines, did not learn from mistakes and did not prioritise safety enough.

The surgery was threatened with being closed down if improvements were not made. Enforcement action was taken against Veor Surgery over the shortcomings, according to the chief inspector for the CQC.

It has now been announced that the St Austell Healthcare Group will take on the contract to support the registered patients of Mevagissey Surgery from Monday September 14. The practices will be run as part of the network of branch surgeries operated by the group.

Andrew Abbott, director of primary care said, “Our top priority was to ensure people could access high quality healthcare as close as possible to where they live. I am pleased we have been able to deliver on our commitment to the people of Mevagissey and the surrounding area. It’s great news that we have been able to complete the appropriate procurement processes so quickly, and identify such a capable provider, and I hope today’s news will help allay patients’ concerns that have been shared with us.”

St Austell Healthcare will take over the contract on September 14 so there will be no gap in provision, with the surgery in Mevagissey providing services, Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5:30pm.

Additional dedicated GP and nursing staff will be provided to work at the surgery providing patients with access to:

• routine and urgent appointments on the day

• the full range of clinical sessions provided by the Group between 8am and 8pm including a Saturday clinic at a St Austell Healthcare Group site

• a full contraception service, substance misuse, physiotherapy assessment, medicines optimisation and review by the Group’s three pharmacists . The practice also hosts ophthalmology, haematology and imaging services

• a full nursing service which works closely and collaboratively with community nursing teams

• a multi-disciplinary team which will include pharmacists, mental health specialists, physiotherapists, nurse practitioners, social prescribing facilitators, physicians associate and emergency care practitioners

Letters will be sent to everyone who is registered with the practice to confirm the new arrangements. Anyone with an existing appointment with the practice should continue to attend this as planned and to collect any medication which has been prescribed in the usual way.

Dr Alistair Lockwood, GP Partner at St Austell Healthcare said: “St Austell Healthcare are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the community of Mevagissey to deliver and evolve a safe, sustainable and high quality service. This will complement the services already being delivered to patients registered in St Austell and will provide exciting opportunities to further improve healthcare for all patients in this area. We are passionate about making this a long-term success.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay welcomed the news.

He said: “I am happy to have worked closely with NHS Kernow since the changes to the Mevagissey Surgery contract were announced earlier this month, in order to come to a solution that keeps the surgery open in Mevagissey and retains GP cover for the area.

“I am pleased to see a new local contract holder in place so quickly, and will now work with NHS Kernow and St Austell Healthcare in order to ensure a smooth transition for the services and patients involved. “

James Mustoe, Cornwall Councillor for Mevagissey added: “I was very concerned to hear of the early ending of the current contract-holder’s time at Mevagissey Surgery.”

“The GP Surgery in Mevagissey is the beating heart of our village and it is crucial that this service is maintained. along with GP cover for the surrounding area.

“I am pleased to have seen NHS Kernow recognise the urgency and priority of this situation, and that they have worked around the clock, dedicating significant time and resources into finding a solution with neighbouring practice St Austell Healthcare, in a way that means there will be no gap in service at Mevagissey.

“I wish St Austell Healthcare well with their new contract and look forward to working with them. other local NHS groups, as well as the Parish Councils and the wider community to ensure this is a lasting success.”

Cornwall Live