Sudbury patients stage ‘virtual occupation’ to keep their doctors
- Credit: Archant
Patients in Sudbury staged their first ‘virtual occupation’ outside their surgery in a continuing protest against NHS plans to change their provider.
More than 30 campaigners stood outside the popular Sudbury Primary Care Practice in Watford Road, with banners determined to keep the provider, Integrated Health CIC, in charge of running it.
For the last year they have been battling to keep the social enterprise run by their doctors, claiming the surgery has been treated unfairly by NHS England chiefs.
Health bosses have refused to extend their contract instead adding it to a large tendering exercise involving a total of 19 GP surgeries.
Multi-provider AT Medics, based in Streatham, have won the contracts to run a number of surgeries including Burnley Surgery in Willesden and Harness surgery in Wembley.
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Grace Balogun one of the lead members of the Sudbury Patients Action Group, said: “The Patents in Sudbury want to keep our doctors. We have told this to NHS England many times and have had enough of being ignored.
“We are determined to fight for our doctors and if we have to take over our Surgery and barricade ourselves inside to get the message to NHS England Bosses then that is what we will do.”
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Gaynor Lloyd said: “The tendering approach adopted by NHS England bosses ignores the views of local patients and put small practices at a disadvantage. NHS England should now abort the tendering process and negotiate an extension to the GP’s existing contract which would both save money and unnecessary worry to over 8,000 patients.”
In recent months patients have taken their protest to Parliament and to the NHS England HQ in Westminster. They presented a 4,000 strong petition in support of their GPs to the NHS bosses in May but feel their pleas are ignored.
Paul Lorber, former Liberal Democrat councillor and patient at the surgery, added: “We are fed up of the arrogant attitude of ‘we know best’ from the bosses at NHS England. It is time that they listened to the wishes of local patients and stopped ignoring us. The message from our protest is simple ‘WE WANT TO KEEP OUR DOCTORS’ and we will fight for them in any way we can.”
A spokeswoman for NHS ENGLAND said the contract with Intergrated Health CIC will end on October 30 with a new provider running the services on November 1.
She said: “An open, fair and transparent procurement process was followed and the contract will be awarded imminently. Patients and the public will be informed once this has ben done.
She added: “The current provider of services at Sudbury Vale Surgery did not put itself forward as part of the tendering process. The staff employed at the surgery, including the doctors, will have the right to remain as employees of the new provider under TUPE regulations, should they wish to do so.”