In a report of the Scrutiny Support Officer the Panel was advised of minor changes to Dental and GP provision in Middlesbrough.
Following changes to the NHS in 2013 responsibility for the provision of dental care transferred from Primary Care Trusts to NHS England.
It was reported that the Teesdent Dental Practice opened in January 2011 and was based within Teesside University providing dental services to around 1,400 patients. It was noted that the target was for around 3,000 to be registered with the practice. The Panel was advised that there had been a high turnover of patients and the practice had not been able to achieve sufficiently high patient numbers for the contract to run effectively. Although the practice had worked closely with NHS England to try and resolve the situation it had been concluded that it was unsustainable and the provider had served notice to terminate the agreement with effect from 30 April 2014.
It was confirmed that the NHS Area Team was working with the practice to ensure the smooth closure of the practice and the transfer of patients to local practices. A letter had been sent to each patient advising of alternative practices nearby that were currently accepting new NHS patients. Patients were being encouraged to contact an alternative practice as soon as possible to ensure continuity of care. The letter a copy of which was provided at Appendix 1 to the report submitted also contained a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help advise patients.
The Council had been notified by the NHS England, Durham, Darlington and Tees Local Area Team about a service review which was to commence regarding a local GP practice, Park End Clinic. Further information had been received from NHS England copies of which were circulated at the meeting.
The GP practice had opened in 2009 as part of a national initiative to improve access and choice to GP services for local communities. As the contract for this practice was due to come to an end on 31 August 2014 the role of NHS England's Durham, Darlington and Tees Area Team had been to review the service to evaluate quality, demand, value for money and need.
NHS England had indicated that from information collated and analysed it suggested that the practice may no longer be viable owing to the following main factors:-
(a) the low numbers of patients currently registered at 1512 with a slightly below average number of patients with long term conditions;
(b) choice of a number of other accessible practices locally, all of which were accepting new NHS patients and which provided services to an equal clinical quality;
(c) high costs of providing services to small numbers of patients.
It was noted that whilst NHS England had already considered a range of available quality information and patient feedback they had indicated that an important part of the service review was to gain the views of registered patients, local representatives and partner organisations. NHS England intended to embark on a period of engagement to ensure local people were able to assist in understanding both the benefits of Park End Clinic and the impact of possible decommissioning the practice.
It was noted that the nearest GP Practices to Park End Clinic were the Crossfell Health Centre at 0.69 miles from Park End and Martonside Medical Centre at 0.76 miles, with a further seven practices within a two mile radius of where the majority of patients resided.
The Panel discussed the proposed stakeholder engagement plan as outlined in Appendix 2 of the report circulated.
The main observations of Members on the proposed consultation focussed on:-
(a) The Panel welcomed the opportunity of submitting views on the review and engagement process so far and suggested that further discussion take place with appropriate representatives on the outcome of the consultation exercise.
(b) In overall terms, Members expressed disappointment if it proved necessary to close the Park End Clinic especially having regard to the recent return of the Smoking Cessation Clinic further details on which were requested as to its future operation.
(c) Members queried the figures and what method had been used in determining the distances stated of other practices within the Ward from the Park End practice as shown in Table 1: patient distribution of the briefing paper received from NHS England.
(d) The Panel concurred with the proposed list of stakeholders to be contacted and suggested that it would be useful if appropriate care and residential homes, a breakdown of the third sector groups and Local Area Co-Ordinators were included in the list to be consulted.
(e) In terms of the method of consultation the Panel indicated the need for direct discussions in certain circumstances in order to assist in gaining meaningful responses especially those in residential or care homes.
AGREED as follows:-
1. That the information provided in respect of the Teesdent Dental Practice be noted.
2. That in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair a formal response be submitted to NHS England, Durham, Darlington and Tees Area Team on the review and consultation process in respect of Park End Clinic based on the Panel's findings as outlined.