A NEW provider has been selected to step in and run a Southcote doctors surgery after all its GP partners resigned simultaneously.
The future of the Circuit Lane Surgery was thrown into doubt after the five GPs who ran it all handed in their notice, sparking fears amongst its 10,5000 patients.
But, following a series of heated public meetings NHS England announced today that the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will take over management of the practice from Sunday, February 1 on an interim basis.
The decision has been welcomed by Reading West MP Alok Sharma who chaired a public meeting at Southcote Primary School in September where a working group of health leaders, local community and patient groups was set up to work with NHS England on choosing a new provider.
Mr Sharma said: “I am extremely pleased that we have a new interim provider of GP services at Circuit Lane in place and well done to NHS England and others who have worked hard to ensure the timetable for securing a new provider has not slipped.
“The Working Group I initiated has worked very effectively and meant that the views of patients and local people have been considered at every step.”
Berkshire Healthcare runs Propspect PArk Hospital, in honey End Lane, as well as providing the out-of-hours services for all Berkshire West patients and the services at the Slough Walk-In Centre.
The Trust and NHS England will present an update of their plans at public meeting will be held at 7pm at Southcote Primary School, in Silchester Road, on Friday, December 5.
Labour’s Parliamentary hopeful for Reading West, Victoria Groulef, hailed the announcement as a “victory for the community”. Mrs Groulef and Southcote councillors worked with patients at the surgery to compile a 1,000-signature petition urging NHS England to retain the surgery and not choose a private provider.
Mrs Groulef said neighbours have been standing on street corners and going from door-to-door getting support for the petition, which was sent to NHS England on Monday. She added: “It’s fantastic.
“This has really been all about people coming together and saying what they want.”
NHS England will continue to search for a permanent provider, but Thames Valley’s area director Mathew Tait assured patients all the services at the surgery will remain the same.
He said: “We are pleased to have been able to put in place an interim provider quickly.
“We are confident that the 10,500 patients at Circuit Lane Surgery will benefit from the continuity of GP services and we also hope some of the GPs currently working at the practice will remain.”