PATIENTS angry over controversial changes to their GP service have lost their fight after redundancy notices were handed to surgery staff.

People living in Handsworth were outraged they weren’t consulted over a shake-up at St James Medical Centre and set up a campaign group – Keep Our Practice (KOP) to oppose plans.

But despite hundreds of patients raising concerns and staff at the surgery opposing plans, the PCT said the lease, currently handled by national provider The Practice PLC, expires in December and there were no funds to assist with further rent or the refurbishment of new premises.

Its responsibilities are set to be picked up by a partnership of doctors called Vitality, which is also based at the venue.

Redundancy notices have been issued to Practice PLC staff, including nurses and administrators.

Rev Linda Isiorho, from St James’ Vicarage, claimed: “KOP felt hopeful that their beloved medical team could be saved. What we uncovered was a mass of profit-motivated actions that was quite shocking and a disregard by the PCT to follow due process.

“I am dismayed at the lack of transparency in the process and the cavalier disregard for the proper measures of consultation that should have been in place before final decisions were made.”

Hundreds of patients turned up to voice their concerns and frustrations at previous meetings. During one heated debate, health chiefs apologised after complaints about a lack of consultation by the Trust.

Rev Isiorho said, although KOP had been disbanded, patients were continuing to seek legal action.

“The campaign is over but the consequences will continue,” she added.

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