Issued: January 29, 2018
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing calls for enquiry into Waltham Abbey GP as 'special measures' practice faces closure
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing is calling for an enquiry into a Waltham Abbey GP whose practice has been put into 'special measures' and will close in March.
Mrs Laing said: "Keyhealth Medical Centre was until a few years ago very successful and very popular but since Dr Mark Greenhalgh has been in sole charge of the practice it has been put into special measures and will now close and it appears that Dr Greenhalgh is just allowed to walk away."
Some 5,800 patients are currently registered with Keyhealth Medical Centre which was given an 'inadequate' rating following a Care Quality Commission inspection last August.
Keyhealth is one of three practices based at Waltham Abbey Health Centre in Sewardstone Road. The other two practices are not affected.
Dr Mark Greenhalgh served notice on his contract on December 31 last year.
West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has accepted the notice and will soon write to patients to inform them the service is ending, and inviting them to register with another practice.
Patients who fail to register elsewhere before the date will be allocated another practice.
Mrs Laing said: "I am in constant touch with the NHS and CCG to make sure that my constituents do not suffer because of the closure of this practice which only a few years ago was very successful and very popular.
"I have repeatedly asked NHS England to investigate Dr Greenhalgh. I have been concerned for years that his involvement with this practice was detrimental to a large number of my constituents in the Waltham Abbey area.
"NHS England have told me on more than one occasion that they cannot interfere in the management of a GP practice where there is no impact upon the delivery of services.
"I have argued for a number of years that Dr Greenhalgh's involvement in the practice has had an adverse impact upon the services which ought to have been delivered to my constituents and that therefore NHS England ought to have taken action.
"Sadly I have been proved right."
Among the patient feedback issues highlighted in the inspection report was a lack of consistency and presence of GPs and that patients experienced difficulties obtaining appointments.
The feedback also stated that the practice team was not strong, there was a lack of presence and leadership by the lead GP and the administration workforce as a whole were not settled or embedded into their roles.
Also, clinical staff were transient - nurses were self-employed and all GPs, aside from the lead GP, were locums, the report states.
The report stated that the director and only permanent GP works at the practice one day a week, the remainder of the week he works away from the practice and accesses the systems remotely from an office.
It added that there are three long-term locums engaged, four nurse practitioners and three practice nurses.
Nurses are engaged on a self-employed basis, the report adds.