Our GP practice was committed to carrying out an open and transparent engagement with our patients on our proposal to close Adel Surgery. As we’re sure our patients will understand the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruption to people’s lives and for us has resulted in some significant changes that we’ve had to put in place really quickly.
Our intention was to extend the date of the engagement so that we could hold, at the very least, one face to face event however there appears to be little possibility of a return to normal life for the foreseeable future. Even if the outbreak ends sooner, the impact of post-pandemic support will add further pressure on our GP practices as well as other services. This means we would not be able to commit to planning and running any formal events as it would inappropriate to divert our clinical staff away from patient care. This leaves us in a really difficult situation as we concentrate our resources on dealing with the pandemic. With this in mind, we’re realistically unable to pull together an analysis of people’s responses until mid-May. We appreciate this may create a degree of uncertainty but we ask for your understanding at this difficult time for all those in frontline services.
We remain committed to completing the engagement as fully as possible and we will need to have provided evidence to NHS Leeds CCG by July to allow them to make a decision on what future service provision might be needed in the area. Again this will be difficult for them to plan while dealing with the pandemic. This, however, must be weighed against the lease on the premises expiring in March 2021, with a decision on the lease being necessary by October 2020.
If after the analysis we feel there’s a need to hold any follow up event, this would out of necessity have to be done online. We understand this would exclude those who aren’t confident with digital tools or those who aren’t online at all. Again this is to minimise public health risk. However we’ll work with local councillors so that we can encourage people to share any questions they have through non-digital means.
We appreciate that these are highly unusual circumstances, and want to work together to find a way forward. We will consider any concerns raised, as indeed will NHS Leeds CCG, when we’ve finalised the analysis of responses. We are disappointed that COVID-19 has led to us having to cancel the public meetings and with little hope of holding any such meetings within the timescales for our lease expiring.
We will update our patients on our next steps and this will be based on the findings from the independent analysis which will form the focus for any online engagement event.
We appreciate everyone’s patience during these unprecedented times for all of us.