Brownsover surgery will ‘re-open soon’ after tedious process

Members of the action group and supporters with Chairman, Jake Stevenson
Members of the action group and supporters with Chairman, Jake Stevenson

Patients may be able to get an appointment on their doorstep if their surgery in Brownsover re-opens soon.

In April 2015, Albert Street Medical Practice and its branch surgery in Brownsover closed and thousands of patients were transferred to a caretaker practice.

The Brownsover surgery building in Bow Fell is owned by Dr Kavuri, who was one of the managing partners of the practice. The surgery lost its contract with the NHS due to a dispute between the doctors.

Patients from both surgeries were transferred to Rugby Town Medical Practice on Lower Hillmorton Road until a new medical centre was built in Brownsover. The temporary practice is run by Beech Tree and Market Quarter Medical Practices and a free bus service runs from Brownsover to the surgery.

After being told that work on the new medical centre wouldn’t begin until 2017 - despite NHS England stating it would be up and running by the end of 2016 - Brownsover patients were relieved to hear that they may be seen at their old surgery from April.

NHS England, Dr Kavuri, and the Brownsover Patient Action Group have been working to prepare the building in order for it to be used as a temporary practice while the new centre is being built.

Mike Folly, who is acting on behalf of Dr Kavuri, said: “Dr Kavuri offered to lease the building to NHS England in August 2015 but health bosses insisted work needed to be carried out. The patient group agreed to help to source contractors to do the necessary work and aim to complete the repairs to an agreed timescale which would enable occupation by April 1. It remains to be seen if NHS England can meet these timescales.”

The Advertiser asked NHS England if both town centre and Brownsover patients would be seen in Brownsover, and who would be running the facility.

Martina Ellery, deputy head of primary care for NHS England in the West Midlands, responded with the following statement: “Work continues towards a short-term solution for Brownsover residents to use the previous practice premises in Bow Fell.

“Every effort is being made to progress this and once the lease has been finalised and signed, the IT configuration can be progressed with the aim of completing the works as soon as possible.

“We will then be in a position to confirm the date for the re-opening of the temporary GP surgery.”

Jake Stevenson, chairman of Brownsover Patient Action Group (BPAG), said: “Nearly 12 months on we finally have a little progress. NHS England has committed to us to get the old Brownsover surgery open in April 2016, allowing patients to see GPs on our estate again.”

Mr Stevenson accompanied Rugby MP Mark Pawsey to a meeting with the Minister of State for Health and Social Care earlier this week to push for the new medical centre.

Mr Pawsey said: “The situation faced by those who depend on having a good, local surgery is unacceptable.

“Since being made aware of the closure of Brownsover surgery, I have convened a number of meetings with NHS England and with Brownsover residents. In February 2015, I was given a firm commitment by NHS England that a new surgery would be open by autumn 2016.

“Following recent discussions with NHS England, it became clear that this commitment would not be met. I therefore requested an urgent meeting with the Minister to press NHS England for action.”

Mr Pawsey added: “I am grateful to the Minister for taking the time to meet with not only myself, but also a representative of the Brownsover Patients Action Group.

“The Minister shares the concerns which both I and BPAG raised at the meeting and I am pleased that he will seek to ensure that the delivery of a new surgery, which Brownsover residents have been promised for nearly a decade now, will be delivered as soon as possible. I will continue to monitor progress closely and I will request regular updates from NHS England on this matter.”

Mr Stevenson said: “It was clear from meeting with the Minister that he shares the frustrations of patients that NHSE are taking too much time with this project. He has urged NHS England to expedite their processes so internal authorisations are granted before the end of April 2016.

“This could potentially see building work commence in October 2016. We (BPAG) will continue to apply all pressure we can on NHS England to deliver this project as soon as possible.”