Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group has published some decisions as of 7th November 2018.
1. The contract held by Virgin Care for GP / Medical Services (ie doctors, nurse practitioners, practice nurses, management and administrative support) at Lyme Regis Medical Centre will end on 31 May 2019. The roughly 4,400 people registered at Lyme Regis Medical Centre are each receiving a letter from the CCG explaining this, offering reassurance that from that date 'GP services will be provided at the practice under new local arrangements …. services will continue at the practice in the future', and advising that there is no need to register elsewhere.
2. That part of the contract covering community services (ie community nurses and healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, and occupational therapist) will cease on the same date. In a few days a contract for these services will be advertised for tender by potential providers, with the successful bidder likely to be known by the end of March / early April. The future of the Minor Injuries Unit is excluded at present because the CCG is undertaking a Dorset-wide review of 'urgent care centres'.
Over the past year or so significant parts of the community services contract originally held by Virgin Care have been transferred: health visitor, school nurse, nursery nurse, mental health provision, and podiatry are now run by Dorset HealthCare, while adult social work service is with Dorset Social Services.
Because community services apply to the roughly 9,000 patients across all three practices in Lyme and Charmouth, the letter being received today by LRMC patients does not explain this procedure for community services. There will soon be a CCG press release which should make both processes clear.
3. Staff employed by Virgin Care at Lyme Regis Medical Practice were briefed about these changes before they were notified to the public.
Work ahead for LymeForward Health and Wellbeing Group
These decisions mean that all registered patients can now know of definite end-dates for both parts of the process, and can appreciate where local efforts must be directed over the next months.
Beyond the CCG statement that GPs in its West Dorset Locality (a grouping chaired by Dr Blair Millar of Bridport Medical Centre) are 'developing plans … to ensure the sustainability of primary care services throughout Lyme Regis and the rest of West Dorset', the information so far available gives no specific detail about what the 'new local arrangements' for GP / Medical services will actually be. The CCG promises 'engagement events' and that residents will be 'kept informed of developments in this area as they happen.' On behalf of local people, LymeForward will watch this process closely and will continue doing all it can to ensure that residents' views are known to those developing the plans.
LymeForward will also monitor the contracting process for community services, with particular concern that these will be specified so as to be consistent with the CCG's own formal statement in its most important guiding document that 'More of our services will be provided closer to home, with improved access seven days a week.' The specification for this contract will be publicly available once the initial advertising for 'Expressions of Interest' is under way, probably in the week beginning 12th November.
The CCG has given a provisional assurance that it will hold an open public meeting in Lyme as the 'developing plans' for both parts of this process become clearer. This would probably be in early February.
If you would like to discuss anything arising from this news, please contact Chris Boothroyd by email (email@example.com) or phone 01297-442237.