STRUCTURE: An East Midlands foundation trust is to take over all GP services in three local surgeries under ‘exceptional circumstances’, its commissioners have said.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital FT’s primary care branch, Royal Primary Care, will start to deliver services at three of the five surgeries currently run by Holywell Medical Group on Friday.

Two more surgeries are due to close tomorrow following financial pressures and recruitment difficulties.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The FT is to take over all GP services in three local surgeries under ‘exceptional circumstances’

North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which has delegated commissioning responsibility for primary care, said in a statement: “Exceptional circumstances mean that Holywell Medical Group will no longer be able to provide GP services after Thursday.

“This is an unexpected development and to ensure a safe and sustainable service continues for local patients [the trust] has been commissioned to provide an emergency caretaker service until 31 March 2016.”

Paul Cook, who was medical director of the former Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust, will support the trust as an adviser.

Staff were made aware of the move in a meeting this week. All clinical staff will have the opportunity to transfer to the trust under transfer of undertakings protection of employment regulations. Administrative and other staff will initially be transferred over on their existing terms and conditions.

The CCG, trust and NHS England jointly sent letters to all affected patients this week.

Holywell senior partner Nadine Kale said: “Ongoing difficulties to recruit health professionals, particularly GPs, and the financial pressures of having to use more locum doctors has driven this urgent change.”

“The support provided by the Chesterfield Royal Hospital will free up more GP time to see patients which was previously spent on managing the practice.”

CCG chair Ben Milton said news of the practice closures “was unexpected and we appreciate this may cause concern to patients”. However, it would provide a “good opportunity to forge stronger links between GP surgeries… and local hospitals”, he said.

“We wish to assure every patient that our priority is to make sure a safe and sustainable service continues and that any potential disruption to clinical services is kept to a minimum,” he added.

Trust chief executive Gavin Boyle said the organisation was “delighted to step in to sustain these services for local people and we’re looking forward to bringing GP, primary care and hospital services together in ways that will benefit all our patients”.