Following our letter “GP blame-game”, the picture has been clarified by documents disclosed under a freedom-of-information request to the Health Board (Cardiff&Vale UHB). 

These show the UHB were paying rent/mortgage costs of £31k per year and had given notice of terminating payments at the end of December 2021. This seemed to be on the basis that their “Wellbeing Hub” at Cogan would be ready and they’d assured the owners (the previous doctors) that the Hub plans were “in process”. 

After those owners notified the UHB in August 2021 that they intended to put the surgery on the market, there are no documents until 3rd October when Dr. Leppick received a notice-to-quit by 1st March 2022. 

Evidently the Health Board were in the driving seat; does the absence of documents from August and September mean they were asleep at the wheel? Clearly the excuse that the sale was unexpected, given by of the UHB's Primary Care Team is quite untrue.
Dr Leppick reported discussions with the Health Board exploring several options for ensuring “the ongoing provision of GMS services to patients at Albert Rd surgery” (3-4 October). At that stage, purchase of the building was open to the Health Board, as the owners had received but not accepted the “firm offer to buy” with vacant possession by 1st March. 

The documents do not say what happened in Dr Leppick’s discussions, as the documents have not yet been disclosed. Blaming the Albert Road GPs for suddenly handing back their contract is clearly false.

In the meantime, the petition to restore GP services in north Penarth has been scheduled in the Senedd committee for the end of this October. Then the role of the Health Board and Vaughan Gething as local MS in closing Albert Surgery should be clear – while they’ve blamed Dr Leppick, it appears they failed to help and put her in a position where she had no choice. This despite Mr Gething’s Primary Care Plan for Wales saying a Health Board's role is to help sustain vulnerable GP practices.

We’re hopeful SAS’s efforts to achieve due honesty, openness and transparency will achieve success at the Petitions Committee and win their support for restoring our surgery.

The forced migration of 7,000 patients from Albert surgery is causing a great deal of stress in the other Penarth and Dinas surgeries, as well as to the displaced patients themselves. The position would have been far from satisfactory if the Cogan Hub had been built, but given its failure, the closure of Albert surgery was both immoral and a risk to many vulnerable people.
Max Scott-Cook 
Save Albert Surgery campaign