St Lawrence Medical Practice, located in Braintree, has been having problems. The GP surgery’s building lease is set to expire on 1st June 2016. However, the practice has still managed to attract a new medical contractor, which will be taking over the running of the GP surgery even though it will not have a building.
The GP surgery is operated by medical contractor Provide, whose contract is expiring on 1st June, the same day as the building lease. Thereafter, it will be taken over by Virgin Care.
Virgin Care is already running 30 primary care services in England, including walk-in centres, minor injury units, out-of-hours services and urgent care centres. St Lawrence is the 20th GP surgery that Virgin Care is taking over.
In November, NHS England announced that St Lawrence would be relocating to The College at Braintree. However, work to adapt the building has not started.
NHS England (East) Head of Commissioning Carolyn Larsen clarified that the NHS was in talks with The College regarding the relocation. She added that the plans for adapting the building were being finalised and the start date would be announced shortly.
Larsen clarified that the NHS had the option to extend the existing lease of the building in the short term should the need arise. She also announced that Virgin Care would be taking over St Lawrence as the new long-term provider as long as the medical contractor agreed to the terms and conditions laid down by NHS England.
Provide Chief Executive John Niland said that patients will not face any inconvenience due to disruption of services. He said that Provide had taken over the running of St Lawrence on 1st June 2015 on an interim basis for a year, and he was extremely proud of the efforts put in by the team to improve the service provided to patients. Niland assured patients that Provide would work closely with Virgin Care to ensure the handover occurred smoothly.