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With it patients waiting longer than ever for routine GP appointments, the closures of GP practices is only exacerbating the problem. Private companies are closing GP practices across the country in areas where it is difficult to make a profit.
The Practice Group
In Brighton and Hove, The Practice Group announced in January 2016 that it will terminate its contract for five GP surgeries in the city at the end of June, leaving 11,500 patients looking for a new GP.
Over the years, The Practice Group, whci runs around 50 GP surgeries, has also closed a surgery in Camden Road, London, the Maybury surgery in Woking, the Brandon Street practice in Leicester and the Arboretum surgery in Nottingham.
All of these surgeries were in areas of high deprivation, where it is difficult to make money. The Practice Group defended terminating the contracts and closing services, saying the loss-making activities were unsustainable.
Danum Medical Services Ltd
The private limited company Danum Medical Services Ltd was set up in Doncaster by 23 local practices and had 63 individual shareholding GPs'. The company held APMS contracts for six practices in the Midlands and Yorkshire.
In March 2016, DMSL went into administration leaving individual GP surgeries in debt, with one surgery reported to be facing losses of £20,000.
In February 2014, the Care Quality Commission criticized Virgin Care over its use of non-medically trained receptionists to assess patients in its Croydon Urgent Care centre. CQC inspectors found the centre was in breach of four basic standards of care.
Over the years several GP surgeries run by Concordia have been thrown into disarray after contracts have run out, or where Concordia pulled out early.
In March 2017 in Merton, only three days before the end of a Concordia contracts, almost 4,000 patients were left without a GP. Merton CCG reported that it did not have the data to see if any of these patients had registered in other areas, or remained unregistered.
In 2014 Concordia Health pulled out of a contract for a GP surgery in Dover, leaving less than a month from breaking the news to leaving the service. This left almost 3,500 patients with having to find a new GP. The company had pulled out of a similar contract in Broadstairs earlier in the year.