In June 2020, the CCG made the decision to close Laburnum Medical Group in Ashington.
The CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee made the decision to end the GP practice’s contract following inspections done by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ongoing investigations carried out by the CCG, which identified issues with the quality of care provided.
The practice, which provided healthcare for over 2,000 patients from Ashington and the surrounding areas, including Wansbeck, Morpeth, Newbiggin and Bedlington, closed at the end of July 2020.
Patients were notified of the decision, in writing, and were also advised that they were being automatically registered with one of six GP practices as close to their home as possible to ensure they could continue to access primary care services.
The patient letter advised any patients with concerns or issues to contact the CCG, Healthwatch Northumberland or PALS. Patients were also invited to join a Zoom call hosted by Healthwatch on Friday July 3. The Zoom call was arranged as the CCG was unable to do a face-to-face engagement session in light of COVID-19.
Later that year, the CCG wrote to all former patients of the GP practice inviting them to take part in a survey, as we wanted like to hear their thoughts about the surgery closure and give them an opportunity to share their views on their new GP practice.
The letter was translated into different languages for patients who did not speak English as a first language and it was also adapted into Easy Read for patients who were identified to have learning disabilities.
The charity Being Woman, which supports the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in Northumberland and Healthwatch Northumberland supported former patients needing help completing their surveys.
A total of 386 people completed the survey with good representation from seldom heard groups. Overall respondents were clearly unhappy about the closure and had a strong feeling of disappointment. However, the majority of respondents reported they had a positive experience of changing GP practice, were happy with the quality of care they receive at their new practice and are not inconvenienced travelling there.
Read the full copy of the engagement feedback report.