I found out a few days ago that Goodwood Court Medical Centre in Hove had been shut down by the regulator with immediate effect.
This is a real shock for me and even more so for the 10,000 patients registered there.
Above all my concern is for patient safety. I was therefore straight in touch with the regulator of standards, the Care Quality Commission, to understand what happened. They briefed me on the initial findings from their inspection and although I’m not allowed to discuss these while legal proceedings are underway I can say that having heard the reasons for their action I accept that the closure is in the interests of patient safety. The GP practice now have a month in which to appeal after which the full inspection findings will be made public, but the practice will remain closed in this time.
Secondly, I have told all agencies that alternative quality GP services must be made available to residents without delay. NHS England and local commissioners are responsible for that and I am contacting each to reinforce this need.
Thirdly the local commissioners must begin the process of replacing the permanent GP facility with the first-rate service they have every right to expect.
Those are my three priorities, but there are other questions that need answering. Could inspectors or commissioners have reasonably been expected to intervene sooner to turn around the practice rather than resulting in immediate closer? Also, are there any issues relating to past poor performance that could have affected the level of care of patients which needs following up?
I will be putting these questions directly to our local commissioners, to the NHS centrally, and I will also be challenging ministers on these issues in parliament.
If you are affected by this situation you can immediately start using the Brighton Station Health Centre without the need to register with them first. They operate a walk-in service which you can use and they can be called on 0333 321 0946.
I said in my maiden speech last week that I will not hold back when public services fail people, whether it be in education, health, policing or any other of our vital institutions. Clearly a failure has occurred here and I will get to the bottom of what caused this failure and make sure that what comes next has all of the ambition and excellence that our community deserves.
This weekend my team of volunteers will be delivering thousands of letters to residents in the affected area of Hove to make sure that people have the information they need. I will also update people as the situation unfolds. All the best, Peter
UPDATE: People affected by this situation can also call NHS 111 which is a 24 hours a day service. They will guide you on health inquiries and also be able to refer you onwards if that is needed.