Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the announcement from North East Essex CCG (NEECCG) that the contract for the Caradoc Surgery held by Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) is to be terminated, while the other three ACE run surgeries in the Clacton constituency have been issued with 28-day remedial notices.
Announced following a NEECCG board meeting on 30th July, this follows months of discussions between Giles, NEECCG and Tendring District Council (TDC). And in practice, this will mean that new management arrangements will be put in place to run the Caradoc Surgery in Frinton-on-Sea, while the other local ACE surgeries will have a month to demonstrate substantial improvements. The contract at the Caradoc Surgery will be taken over by the Ranworth Surgery on a temporary basis, until a permanent plan is put in place.
ACE are a major provider of primary care in the Clacton constituency, with over 23,000 patients registered at four GP surgeries – Caradoc, Frinton Road, Epping Close, and Green Elms. However, they have had significant issues with the delivery of services. Foremost amongst these has been the impact of the new Care Navigation telephony system, which has stopped people booking appointments in a timely manner. This has led to many people deciding not to try and see their GP due to the difficulty of securing an appointment, and there have also been issues with ordering prescriptions and securing test results over the phone.
Giles has been leading a campaign to address the poor level of primary care that patients have been receiving at the four local ACE GP surgeries for over a year now. In that time, he has met with the former Managing Director of ACE, Lynn Woodcock, three times, the then Accountable Officer of North East Essex CCG, Sam Hepplewhite, four times, and exchanged ten formal letters with them both, along with hundreds of constituent representations. This is in addition to letters to Care Quality Commission, NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Speaking about the announcement, Giles said:
“I am pleased that NEECCG have finally taken this decision. ACE have had long enough to get their house in order, and I know that both as the MP for Clacton, who has received hundreds of complaints about their service, and as a local patient myself.
“I have engaged with the CCG and Tendring District Council regularly to better understand the contract that ACE held and where they may have been in breach. On that point, I want to take the opportunity to pay tribute to Ian Davidson, Chief Executive of TDC, who has been steadfast throughout in standing up for local people, and the new Chief Executive at NEECCG, Dr Ed Garratt, who has gripped this issue with impressive dynamism and engaged very positively with me.
“I do also appreciate that for local residents this will feel like it has all taken too long, and I agree with that view – it is sad that patients have had to put up with so much over the past few years. But there was a process to be followed and that took time. Nevertheless, we have now reached this encouraging milestone, and while this is certainly not a matter of case closed, it is a massive step forward and I will continue to work with the CCG to secure the best services at all our local practices. I believe that now we stand a good chance of getting the GP service that this area has sought for so long.
“Moreover, with almost £15m to be invested in Clacton Hospital, with a CCG with new and energetic leadership, and with a record NHS cash boost of £20bn being pumped into the NHS, I believe that the future is bright for healthcare on our Sunshine Coast!”
If have questions about this change, please direct them to North East Essex CCG as they are best placed to give you the most up to date information as the primary commissioner:
Address: North East Essex CCG, Aspen House, Stephenson Road, Severalls Business Park, Colchester, CO4 9QR
Telephone: 01206 918700