A POPLEY GP surgery responsible for the healthcare of 13,500 patients will be taken over by an American-owned health giant next month.

Operose, who controversially took over the Camrose, Gillies and Hackwood (CGH) partnership last year, have now struck a deal with Hampshire's Clinical Commissioning Group to run services at Shakespeare Road Medical Practice.

Owned by US giant Centene, Operose entered into a "partnership" with CGH last year, but it was labelled a "sell out" by local councillors.

Councillors raised concerns over a lack of consultation and communication, whilst also saying other sites appear to have "a potential decline in quality of care for patients".

Shakespeare Road has been in the midst of a takeover for many months, after The Gazette revealed almost a year ago that the partners of what was then called the Bermuda and Marlowe practice would not be renewing its contract.

But how did we get here? This is a timeline of events at Shakespeare Road Medical Practice, a GP surgery responsible for 13,500 patients.

  • November 17, 2020: The Gazette exclusively reveals that the Bermuda and Marlowe partnership will be taken over in 2021. The partners' contract was not renewed by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees primary care services in the region.
  • It is also revealed that the CCG are in advanced talks with Bramblys Grange, another of the town's surgeries, over running the surgery on a permanent basis.
  • April 1, 2021: Bramblys Grange takeover running the Bermuda and Marlowe practice on a temporary basis, with the partnership due to takeover permanently in October.
  • April 14, 2021: Two weeks after the temporary takeover, the newly-renamed Shakespeare Road Medical Practice suddenly closes its doors and stops seeing patients. At first, patients are left in the dark and are told to call 111 if they need an appointment or prescription.
  • April 15, 2021: The surgery reopens for emergency appointments. The GP in charge of the practice confirms the closure was due to a build-up of short term pressure, partly caused by the takeover.
  • April 20, 2021: A senior GP confirms to the Gazette that the planned takeover of Shakespeare Road has not collapsed, and that the surgery is fully reopen.
  • October 27, 2021: The Gazette reports how Bramblys Grange have pulled out of the planned permanent takeover of Shakespeare Road. They agree to run the surgery until the end of November, having been due to takeover permanently at the start of October. Among other reasons, a struggle to recruit clinical staff is blamed.
  • October 28, 2021: The regional clinical lead at the Hampshire CCG reassures patients of Shakespeare Road that there will be no disruption to services.
  • November 12, 2021: Operose Health, the American-owned firm behind the takeover of the CGH partnership, are confirmed as the new operators of Shakespeare Road. They will take over on December 1.