Cities of London and Westminster MP, Mark Field, congratulated local campaigners this week for their hard-fought battle to maintain their current GP service.
Over 7000 patients in the Bayswater area were threatened with losing their existing GPs after the Garway Road partnership nearly lost its contract with Westminster Primary Care Trust. The practice, which has operated in the area for 78 years, was forced to sell its Garway Road premises after the retirement of a senior partner, leaving GPs with no building from which to work.
The remaining doctors petitioned Westminster PCT to allow them to relocate to new premises but in an attempt to cut costs, the PCT decided to open the contract to competition. Local patients, representatives and the Garway Road doctors feared that a reduction in spending per patient and the use of new GPs unaware of patients’ histories, could threaten the quality of care Bayswater residents receive.
Mark Field lobbied the Trust’s Chief Executive and patient representative, Joanne Cash, vigorously appealed to the PCT to grant the contract to the Garway Road GPs, who felt passionately that their long-established relationships with patients should not be thrown away. After months of campaigning and weeks of uncertainty, Westminster PCT formally announced this week that the Garway Road Medical Centre had won the tender to provide healthcare services.
“This is a marvellous victory for local patients and I am delighted that the Garway Road GPs can continue to provide high quality, personalised care for Bayswater residents as they have done for so many years. This is real endorsement of all their hard work” said Mr Field in reaction to the announcement.
The GPs’ new contract begins on 1 December and the doctors intend to practice from the Hallfield Clinic site in the W2 area. Joanne Cash, who has worked particularly hard to represent patients’ views, said ‘the importance of maintaining the local GP-patient link, which was central to the successful bid, cannot be quantified in simple monetary terms. GPs and Garway Road patients have now been offered security in the years to come.’