Row between GPs leads to urgent NHS meeting in Blackpool

Over Wyre Medical Centre in Preesall
Over Wyre Medical Centre in Preesall

A row between doctors at Over Wyre Medical Centre led to an urgent meeting of health chiefs.

The legal dispute, between four GPs and a fifth, led to the four threatening to dissolve their partnership by Sunday, according to NHS documents.

That could have led to their contract with the NHS coming to an end – sparking fears over the impact on 11,259 patients registered there.

Bosses at the Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met on Tuesday and decided that, if the partnership were to be dissolved, a new contract would be given to the four GPs so patients would not be affected.

That means it is business as usual at the practice, in Wilkinson Way, Preesall, which has six partner GPs, though only four are currently practicing.

One absent GP, referred to in NHS papers only as ‘Dr A’, told his colleagues last February “he was no longer able to practice due to a considerable increase in his indemnity fee resulting from a number of complaints”.

The records added: “This has resulted in an ongoing and protracted dispute” which “remains unresolved”.

The other GP not working is Jerome Kerrane, who was struck off last month after abusing his position to enrol ineligible patients in clinical trials prior to joining Over Wyre Medical Centre. He is not involved 
in the dispute.

The four remaining GPs have been “undertaking additional clinical sessions” and brought in an agency GP, while the NHS gave “resilience funding” to train “key practice staff to increase their clinical skills,” the documents said.

Health bosses had six options on the table, and decided to award the new contract to the four GPs – if they do dissolve their current partnership – after hearing it “represents the least risk to the continuity of care” for patients.

Doing nothing and not awarding a contract – temporary or permanent – could have left patients with “increased travelling distances and times” to neighbouring practices which could not cope.

Dr A or the quartet could have been asked to provide an interim service “pending procurement of permanent service”, while Dr A could also have been awarded a permanent contract. An alternative provider could also have been sought.

The medical Centre is now likely to bring in a new GP. Dr Luke Holmes, speaking on behalf of the four GPs, said: “Our priority is and will always be our patients and ensuring they continue to receive the high quality of primary care services they have become accustomed to.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, the CCG’s chief clinical officer, added: “Patients and their carers who currently use Over Wyre Medical Centre will see no difference at all by this decision, which is a contractual matter. People will see the same highly skilled, dedicated staff that they do now.”