Updated statement: Withnell Health Centre

Date posted: 1st February 2023

Kevin Lavery chief executive of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “We have recently met with a few representatives from the Withnell Health Centre campaign group and we recognise their concerns.

“The ICB has received a large number of letters, concerns and comments from staff, patients and residents. These are being actively processed but in the meantime, I want to reassure all involved that we are listening. We are taking the issue very seriously and the questions raised deserve full answers. 

“We had a duty to undertake an open, procurement process for the service provided at Withnell Health Centre. This allows for all interested providers to be fairly considered and it is part of our legal responsibility as an ICB in accordance with NHS and public procurement regulations.

“As with all procurement exercises, engagement with the public was part of the process. All patients registered at Withnell Health Centre were sent a letter informing them that a temporary contract had been awarded and that there would be a process undertaken to identify a long-term provider. They were also invited to submit their views via a patient survey and there was an approximate 11% response rate, however, we’d like to acknowledge that more could have been done to keep patients informed.

“Further engagement could have made patients and staff more aware of the procurement process and that it could result in a different organisation taking over the running of the GP practice and due to this, we’d like to apologise.

“We are currently reviewing all the information from the procurement process and at this point have not signed a contract with a new provider. We hope to have this matter resolved within two to three weeks.

“Going forward we’re committed to going above and beyond with our public engagement and would like to reassure our local population that securing high-quality services remains a priority for the ICB.”

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