Bidders line up for city surgery

PUBLISHED: 11:29 14 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:32 04 May 2010

PLANS are in place to sign over Ely s Octagon Surgery and the Lantern Surgery to new managers this autumn. Thirty-four GP practices, consortiums and other organisations have expressed an interest in the surgery, which has been under Cambridgeshire Primar

PLANS are in place to sign over Ely's Octagon Surgery and the Lantern Surgery to new managers this autumn.

Thirty-four GP practices, consortiums and other organisations have expressed an interest in the surgery, which has been under Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust control since Sutton Surgery pulled out last year.

The change-over sparked an outcry from patients who demanded action to improve the surgery, which they claimed was being run by constantly changing locum doctors who were not up to date with patients' medical histories.

More than 200 angry people packed into a meeting in February to tackle health service directors over the "poor service" at the surgeries which serve more than 7,000 patients and are based at the city's Princess of Wales Hospital.

Following that meeting, a Practice Patient Group was launched with 60-plus members who have discussed plans to tender for new managers for the surgery and drawn up a list of patient priorities and questions for prospective bidders.

Patients were asked for their views in a quest-ionnaire and a small group has volunteered to take part in the interviewing process.

Matthew Smith, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust's assistant director of primary care and strategic practice-based commissioning, told board members in a report: "Recognising that the tender process takes several months, the PCT has taken steps to stabilise the practice and reduce reliance on expensive locums.

"A second nurse has been recruited, one full-time and two part-time substantive GPs are now in post and a further two have been made offers.

"An experienced part-time manager has been recruited on an interim basis."

Now all those interested in taking over the surgery will be asked to submit a preliminary offer by Monday and these will be used to shortlist for interview.

It is hoped a contract will be agreed with the new provider in September with the hand-over taking place shortly afterwards.

But patient Michael Powell, 70, of Downham Road, Ely said: "There has been no improvement as far as I am concerned.

"The public has no idea of what is going on. I think it is absolutely disgraceful. The system has been put in place for the convenience of the doctors, not the patients.

"This situation should never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

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