Injury service hangs in balance as contract deadline looms

Dr Tim Kimber is a partner at The Park Surgery in Littlehampton and has been a GP for 29 years. Picture: Gerald Thompson
Dr Tim Kimber is a partner at The Park Surgery in Littlehampton and has been a GP for 29 years. Picture: Gerald Thompson

A GP has expressed his fears for an important medical service after healthcare bosses have kept silent about renewing its contract.

The Park Surgery in Littlehampton offers a minor injury service to residents under a contract with Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans healthcare in the area.

But Dr Tim Kimber, who is a partner at the surgery, has said that the contract for this service is due to end in six weeks’ time.

Despite for repeated requests from the practice for clarification, the commissioning group have given no indication that they are likely to renew it, and Dr Kimber, a GP of 29 years, fears that there is a risk that the service will be lost.

He said: “The NHS is under extreme financial pressure, and there is always a tendency in such circumstances to cut what might be seen as “non-essential” services.

“However, it would be a retrograde step to stop this service that is both convenient for patients and cost-effective.

“Indeed, there is the potential for savings to be made if the service can be developed as had originally been planned and agreed by NHS England.”

He added that the contract renewal comes as Arun Medical Group’s GP practice in East Street is set to close, which means ‘there will be even greater pressure in the local health economy’.

The minor injury service at The Park Surgery offers an alternative to having to attend the A&E departments in Worthing and Chichester.

Dr Kimber added that the service costs less than half the tariff that would otherwise be paid to the hospitals, saving the NHS money.

He also said that NHS England has partly funded a major extension to the practice premises, which is nearing completion, to develop the service further.

The town has had a minor injuries service since Littlehampton hospital was demolished more than 10 years ago.

The clinical commissioning group has been approached for comment.

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