Caroline writes to NHS England about the threatened closure of 5 local GP surgeries

It’s been a week that has seen junior doctors take strike action for the first time in 40 years over the safety of new contracts being imposed upon them. The news about the threatened closure of 5 of the city’s GP surgeries highlights that the NHS is under attack from all angles – and that when profit is a factor in healthcare contract decisions there’s a real risk of the fallout we might see if the closures take place.

The Practice Group, whose surgeries in Brighton include one specifically for homeless people, will leave the contract - and put the future of crucial services in potential jeopardy.

It’s vital that established GP surgeries should not be dismantled because contract negotiations with private companies falter. It’s the responsibility of NHS England to find a solution to allow the surgeries to remain open, and that’s what I’m urging them to do.

I’ve written to NHS England and asked that they consult with the local community and healthcare professionals, so that they are able to have a say in where things go from here.

Closing the surgeries might be the easiest and cheapest option for NHS England to consider, but I do not believe there is capacity for other GP surgeries to simply pick up the pieces.

I believe that each surgery should be reviewed separately, and that the contracts are put out to tender so that other local GPs can run them as branches or GPs can bid to run them themselves.

This latest news is sadly an example of the chaos that can happen when profit is at the forefront of decision-making in the delivery of our healthcare. Our health service should be about people not profit, and in Parliament I will continue to make that case.

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