Hope for lease deal on under-threat medical practice

Beighton medical centre health centre GP surgery
Beighton medical centre health centre GP surgery
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A doctors’ surgery facing potential closure could be granted a temporary stay of execution.

There are hopes a new lease arrangement can be agreed for Beighton Health Centre so there is more time to decide on its long-term future.

The facility is under threat as a result of funding cuts to Sothall and Beighton Medical Practice, where managers have said the anticipated loss of almost a quarter of its funding in the next four years means the same level of service cannot be maintained.

A consultation has been launched with the practice’s 10,000 patients, suggesting the potential closure of Beighton Health Centre ahead of its current lease coming to an end next April.

MP Clive Betts said the practice had previously been told it would have to sign a three-year deal to retain use of the site - leaving managers unsure whether they could afford to do so with budget cuts on the horizon.

But he said it is now hoped a deal could be struck with NHS Property Services, which own the building, that would allow a get-out clause for the lease to be ended early if necessary.

Mr Betts said: “There may be some flexibility. But the bigger issue is stopping the cuts that have been proposed. At a time where we are trying to move more services into the community, GPs are absolutely fundamental to taking that on. To cut their budgets is the complete opposite of what we should be doing.”

A patients’ meeting earlier this month at Beighton Welfare Club was told the surgery has analysed 500 responses on the proposals so far.

The idea of closing Beighton Health Centre, on Queens Road, would be to allow service levels to be maintained at Sothall Medical Centre, on Eckington Road, along with longer opening hours.

Patients have been told the other option would be to keep both sites open but with significantly reduced services.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “We have liaised with NHS Property Services regarding the current lease for Beighton Health Centre, who have confirmed the practice can activate an option to negotiate a new lease. NHS Property Services has contacted the practice to advise them of this and we understand the practice is considering whether they wish to consider this option.”

No-one from the practice was available for comment.