Lease wrangle poses serious ‘risk’ to Thornton and Denholme Medical Practice

Health chiefs say “unprecedented circumstances” regarding the lease of surgery premises have the potential to disrupt the provision of healthcare for residents in Denholme and Thornton.

In April last year, the district’s primary care trust appointed a temporary provider to run Thornton and Denholme Medical Practice after the former contractor – Dr Abdul Rashid – declined the offer of a contract extension, saying he believed funding levels were inadequate.

Shipley-based Westcliffe Medical Practice was appointed by NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds for a year.

Three bids for the long-term contract are now being considered, with a decision expected in the near future.

However, a report before members of Bradford Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee reveals that since the appointment of the temporary provider, the PCT has been attempting to agree proper legal terms for the use of the surgery premises in Ann Street in Denholme, and Craven Avenue, Thornton.

Buildings are owned by former GPs and, to date, the landlords have been unable to agree between themselves who has the legal right to negotiate with the PCT.

The report, written by the PCT’s head of primary care contracting, Neil Coulter, says: “Such matters have remained unresolved to the extent that we understand the landlords are seeking assistance from the courts to resolve their differences.

“Neither the PCT nor our current temporary provider (Westcliffe) are party to these issues, and therefore have no influence to encourage resolution.

“The PCT is concerned the unprecedented circumstances regarding the uncertainty of tenure and the consequent lack of formal lease arrangements has the potential to pose a real and significant risk to the ongoing provision of care to the registered population of Thornton and Denholme.

“NHS ABL cluster board is fully aware of the current issues and has instructed the commissioning team, in view of the uncertainty, to explore all realistic options to minimise such risks in order to ensure services can continue within premises with a greater degree of certainty.”

The report will be considered by councillors at City Hall today.

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