Rye Medical Centre finally has permission from NHS England to open a branch surgery at Peasmarsh Memorial Hall – on the same terms as in its original application.
Plans for a weekly satellite surgery to be run by the centre in the newly refurbished hall were thrown into disarray in June by NHS England’s refusal. The reason cited was that “conditions are not satisfactory”, despite the Care Quality Commission stating that its approval was not required for the hall as far back as November 2013. NHS England offered no explanation as to how it reached its conclusion and the medical centre appealed against the decision, supported by a petition with more than 1,000 signatures.
Following an appeals panel meeting on October 31, NHS England has agreed “not to uphold the original decision of the Area Team GP Contract and Quality Assurance Panel”. This is its convoluted way of saying “Yes – go ahead!”
Dr Ben Chishick and Jackie Kempton, practice manager, were able this time to attend the appeal to answer the panel’s questions. The panel recognised that this further information enabled it to approve the practice’s proposal for the benefit of local patients. It also welcomed the practice’s commitment to consider future needs of local patients and the potential for the expansion of services at a later date, should this prove desirable. The appeals panel said it was reassured by the information provided by the practice about how it would ensure services provided at Peasmarsh would meet the necessary quality and safety standards and needs for patient confidentiality. In fact it had this information all along in the medical centre’s original application. This whole exercise, it seems, has been a waste of time and resources, but the right decision has been reached in the end.
Rye Medical Centre hopes to start the surgery in January.