SITE’S FUTURE: Temporary closure of a Hartlepool medical centre
Hartfields Medical Centre has been temporarily closed since mid-March 2020
The temporary closure of a Hartlepool medical centre is set to continue in coming months as practice leaders engage with patients over the site’s future.
Hartfields Medical Centre, which is on the same site as Hartfields retirement village, has been temporarily closed since mid-March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the McKenzie Group Practice revealed its intention to submit a formal application to health chiefs to permanently close the centre.
Representatives from the practice have since carried out a six-week patient and stakeholder engagement to gather feedback on the potential closure, which ended on August 29.
At a recent meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee in September, the McKenzie Group Practice confirmed they would be carrying out a further 12-week engagement with patients.
As a result, the practice approached NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to request an extension to the temporary closure to allow this to take place.
On Wednesday (October 27), the proposals were presented to the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee for decision.
Sue Greaves, Head of Commissioning and Strategy [Primary Care] at Tees Valley CCG, said the request was made on the basis that the practice was “unable to provide a Covid-safe environment and for practice workforce and resilience.”
To support the decision-making process, an independent review of the medical centre premises was also undertaken earlier this month to assess whether the building could open safely.
Following discussion, the CCG committee agreed that Hartfields Medical Centre should remain closed temporarily, pending information on the hub’s waiting room and treatment room as part of this independent review.
A recommendation on the temporary closure is expected to return to a Primary Care Commissioning Committee meeting in late-December 2021.
CCG bosses stressed that any decision on continuing the temporary closure would not ‘predetermine’ any future decision on a permanent closure.
Proposals for the permanent closure of Hartfields Medical Centre would be subject to a separate process involving a formal business case from the McKenzie Group Practice and final sign-off from the CCG.
Due to the new engagement being carried out with patients, the meeting heard, a business case is not expected until 2022.
Words: Chris Binding, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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