Richmondshire GP practices to end partnership

Harewood Medical Practice in Catterick Garrison.

Harewood Medical Practice is to no-longer be managed by Leyburn Medical Practice.

The Catterick Garrison health centre will be run by the Heartbeat Alliance from March 31 with the contract to operate the practice transferred from the partners of the Leyburn medical centre.

Heartbeat already overseas 21 GP practices in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby.

Leyburn Medical Practice will then operate as a stand alone medical centre.

Senior staff at both medical centres say the change is good news for both practices.

Officials say day-to-day running of the practices will be unaffected.

Stephen Brown is currently Leyburn Medical Practice managing partner but will become Heartbeat director of finance and strategy as part of the changes.

However, he will continue to give management support to Leyburn Medical Practice to provide continuity.

He said: “This is a really positive move for Harewood Medical Practice.

“In what has been an extremely challenging couple of years for GP practices, staff have worked tirelessly to position Harewood Medical Practice as a responsive, adaptable and accessible practice at the heart of the community in Catterick Garrison.

“The transfer to Heartbeat provides better support that will allow us to build on the improvements made and take us forward to our future role within the proposed Catterick integrated care facility.

“It also allows the remaining partners and staff at Leyburn to focus entirely on meeting the needs of Leyburn Medical Practice patients.”

Heartbeat said it was was approached by the partners of Leyburn Medical Practice during the summer and asked to consider a proposal to transfer the contract.

It agreed after a review by the board and North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Officials say Harewood Medical Practice has undergone significant change under the management of Leyburn Medical Practice, with new management practices introduced and improved financial stability.

The partners at Leyburn Medical Practice said the transfer was in the long-term interests of both Leyburn Medical Practice and Harewood Medical Practice so that they can better meet the needs of their respective patients.

A spokesperson said: “It is part of a long-term plan which sought to transform Harewood Medical Practice whilst maintain the highest clinical standards at Leyburn.

“It also reflects the partners dedication to ensuring that as they get closer to retiring age an effective succession plan is in place to safeguard the future of both practices and the needs of their patients.

“As part of this a new team of clinical staff has been appointed including GPs, advanced nurse practitioners, practice nurses and health care assistants so that it is no longer reliant on sharing staff with Leyburn Medical Practice.”

NHS officials say the transfer will allow partners and staff at Leyburn to focus on the needs of the Leyburn population and put all their resources into meeting those needs.

The Leyburn practice will continue to be an active member of the Richmondshire Primary Care Network working with neighbouring practices to deliver wider services such as the Covid vaccination service.

Leyburn will also continue to be a shareholder in Heartbeat offering patients the choice of the evening and weekend Better Access clinics.

The transfer will mean a number of staff changes at the two practices.

Current GP partners Dr Stephen Wild and Dr Debbie Ashcroft will cease to be partners in Leyburn Medical Practice and will transfer with the contract alongside all staff currently working at the practice and will be employed directly through Heartbeat.

At Leyburn, Dr Lucy Fox joined the practice two years ago as a salaried GP and since April 2021 has been a GP partner.

Two additional GPs, Dr Sinead Bell and Dr Monica Jamieson, have been appointed in the last nine months and a further GP is being sought.

Practice nurses Debra Smith and Amy Kerr, who have been working at both practices, are now based solely at Leyburn following the appointment of a new nursing team at Harewood.