A new medical provider is to take over the running of a Sheffield surgery after a people power campaign forced NHS bosses into a U-turn, it has been confirmed.
Westfield Health Centre had been earmarked for closure by NHS England once its sole GP Dr Gurcharan Singh Chadha retired at the end of this month.
Health bosses indicated in November that moving the surgery’s 2,000 patients to other practices was ‘the only realistic option’ once Dr Chadha left.
But a public outcry and a campaign involving a protest by more than 100 patients outside the practice resulted in NHS England reversing its plans and re-procuring the contract.
Seven expressions of potential interest were put forward by local providers and it was announced yesterday evening at a meeting at the adjoining Shortbrook School that a new provider has been found.
Danum Medical Services, which is made up of 23 GP practices including one in Doncaster, is to take over the running of the practice from January 2.
Richard Armstrong, director of commissioning for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw at NHS England, said there had been two formal applications to take over the centre, with Danum’s bid being ‘by far the best’.
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said he was pleased NHS England had been persuaded to change their minds.
“It was a shambles but you turned it around,” he told Mr Armstrong.
“It is great news.”
The deal means there the new GP will take over immediately in January, safeguarding the jobs of surgery staff who wish to stay. But some workers who had found new jobs because of the threat are redundancy are still due to leave.
Initially doctors who are part of Danum’s bank staff will be used to provide services, before one or possibly two GPs are permanently appointed.
Sarah Young, health branch secretary for GMB Sheffield and a surgery patient, said she was thrilled campaigning had saved the practice from closure.
She said: “It is amazing news that we have managed to save it. I was going to back the campaign as much as possible but I never thought we would get to the stage of finding a new GP before January. It almost seems too good to be true.”