The Co-op’s plans to end its financially struggling GP practice have been put on hold whilst staff are pitching in with Jersey’s covid-19 relief effort, Express has learned.
Due to the virus crisis, the plan for winding up the medical branch of the business has been pushed back.
The Co-operative’s intention to bring its medical care business to an end was announced in February, when it was revealed the practice and pharmacy had made losses since its launch in 2014.
It was intended that there would be a 70-day “consultation period” spanning until the end of April, after which patients were to be advised of the future plan for the Co-op.
Closing the practice, which was launched with a pledge to make healthcare more affordable, would put up to 25 jobs at risk and affect around 5,500 patients across its three premises in St. Helier, St. Clement and St. Peter.
Pictured: One of the Co-operative Medical Care's premises in Bath Street, St. Helier.
A few weeks after this announcement, Jersey had its first positive cases of corona virus confirmed in the island and, since then, all local GPs have been brought under the employment of the Health Department to bolster the clinical response to the virus.
Giving an update on the situation, Acting CEO of the Co-op, Mark Cox, told Express: “In February we announced that we would enter into a three-month consultation period to decide the future of our medical care business. Soon after announcing this decision the business was significantly impacted as a result of covid-19.
“We felt it was unfair on our colleagues to continue the consultation process at a time when they were dealing with significant challenges as a result of the outbreak of corona virus. With this in mind we decided to put all our plans for medical on hold, until we have come through the impact of covid-19 and are better placed to plan for the future. Our colleagues working in medical were informed of this decision in March 2020.”
Mr Cox continued: “Co-operative Medical Care continues to operate and is working with the Government of Jersey to fulfil its role in supporting patients at this crucial time. As with all those working in the medical sector our colleagues have worked tirelessly during this time to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care. We remain extremely grateful to all of them for their amazing work throughout this period."
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