Monday, December 22, 2014

News: Care UK to end GP service at Rotherham walk in centre

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The future of the £9.9m Rotherham Community Health Centre looks uncertain after bosses revealed that Care UK will end its provision of GP services next year.

The centre on Greasborough Road was developed by St Paul's Developments and built by Morgan Sindall. It opened in 2009 and provides GP and walk-in services and also provides modern and accessible facilities for most of the primary care services that were based at Doncaster Gate Hospital.

Proposals have recently been approved for a £12.2m Urgent Care Centre to be built at Rotherham Hospital, which involves the closure of the Town Centre Walk in Centre and transfer of the GP out of hours service to the hospital site. The NHS has now written to patients registered for GP services at Chantry Bridge Medical Centre, based in the same town centre building, to inform them that Care UK's service is due to end on September 30 2015.

A private company owned by private equity group, Bridgeport Capital, Care UK is a leading provider of health and social care services, working with local authorities and the NHS. It provides a range of NHS GP services including clinics, walk in centres and out of hours support.

Operated by Care UK, the Rotherham Community Health Centre sees around 4,000 patients a month and it was previously thought that a town centre GP surgery would remain on the site. An estimated 50% of current activity will transfer to the new emergency centre at Rotherham Hospital with Care UK set to continue as provider. All of the other NHS and community services are expected to remain on site, including family planning/sexual health services and clinics. Some other non‐acute provision could be relocated to the town centre.

Construction on the new facilities is set to begin in the spring of 2015 and it could start treating patients in April 2017. The current contract with Care UK for the Walk in Centre and GP Out of Hours provision expires in May 2016.

Options for the future of the GP practice at the Rotherham Community Health Centre have been explored. Currently, there are two options that are deemed viable - closing the GP service with patients registering at another practice, or procuring another provider of GP registered patient services from a site close to Chantry Bridge, until the Urgent Care Centre opens in Spring 2017. A branch surgery could be established at Chantry Bridge when the Walk in Centre closes.

The Rotherham Community Health Centre was acquired in a £14.1m deal in 2012 by a wholly owned subsidiary of Primary Health Properties, an AIM-listed company that specialises in the ownership of freehold or long leasehold interests in modern purpose-built healthcare facilities.

The 4,636 sq m property is wholly let to Rotherham Primary Care Trust (now called the The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust) and had 16 years remaining on the lease when the deal was secured. The building, on the former Bestobell Valves site next to Bailey House, was designed by JM Architects to follow the same curve shape as the adjacent Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation and a slanted wall has been shaped to look like the bow of a ship.

Care UK

Images: St Paul's Developments

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