A CARETAKER GP has been chosen to takeover a nearby practice for at least six months after the death of its only doctor to coronavirus earlier this month.

Huntley Mount Medical Centre, working with Walmersley Road Medical Practice, has been awarded the contract to run Garden City Medical Centre.

But patients will still be seen at the current premises in Holcome Brook.

Dr Jeff Schryer, chairman of Bury NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), supported the decision, made at a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “I think relations and trust are very key at the moment. We know Huntley Mount in particular has provided support to Garden City. For me it feels at the moment we should be fostering that support.”

Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, who single-handedly ran the Garden City practice, died at Salford Royal Hospital on May 3 after contracting Covid-19.

His family, who live in Walshaw, have been looking after the practice since then but this temporary arrangement will expire on June 7.

A total of four practices expressed an interest caretaking the practice.

The CCG received applications from Bardoc, the contract holder for Rock Healthcare, Peel GPs and Huntley Mount “buddied up” with Walmersley Road.

A panel, which included representatives from Garden City, considered the three applications and recommended Huntley Mount to the primary care commissioning committee which approved the decision on Wednesday.

The choice of practice, which is lead by Dr Fazel Butt, was endorsed by Dr Al-Dubbaisi’s family, who wrote a letter in support of Huntley Mount.

Normal services will continue to be delivered from the Garden City practice although minor surgeries will be outsourced.

The contract, which is yet to be signed, will last from six months, up to a year and will be worth six per cent more than a standard contract value to cover the additional costs incurred as a caretaker.

Once this contract expires, the CCG will decide whether to close the practice and distribute its patient list among other practices.

If the group decides to keep the practice in place, a procurement process, which is expected to take around a year to complete, will get underway.

Deputy director of primary care Amy Lepiorz confirmed the CCG’s intention to publish a full options appraisal in July but said this could be delayed to August.