POLITICIANS have stepped in to demand that a GP be reinstated at his own surgery.

MARY NAYLOR looks at the long-running controversy surrounding Shanti Medical Centre.

THE health chief in charge of Bolton's GP surgeries has been brought before councillors to explain what has gone wrong at a failing medical centre.

Su Long, chief officer of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), spent an hour answering questions about Shanti Medical Centre and explaining why its owner, Dr Anant Prasad, has not been able to see his own patients there.

Shanti Medical Centre had been failing for several months when GPs Dr Prasad and Dr Shaista Hanif had their partnership dissolved by the High Court.

Since then Bolton health bosses have installed the GP Federation to continue running the practice and Dr Prasad was for a time suspended.

At a meeting of the health overview and adult social care scrutiny committee at Bolton Council on Tuesday evening councillors asked tough questions of Ms Long, about the way the practice was being run at present.


At the insistence of their residents, many asked why Dr Prasad is not working at the medical centre he owns.

Ms Long said Dr Prasad was working at Great Lever Practice and added: “Dr Prasad was suspended for a short period which affected the rota. I’m not aware of the current situation, but there’s nothing stopping Dr Prasad being employed by any practice and he is a partner at Great Lever practice.”

The public gallery behind Ms Long was filled with vocal supporters of Dr Prasad, some bearing banners with the slogan “Reinstate Dr Prasad.”

A Save Shanti Medical Centre group was set up since the collapse of the partnership.

When Cllr David Greenhalgh said: “There seems to be a feeling patients would like to continue with Dr Prasad” and said he thought it would be “common sense” to bring him back to the practice, there were cries of “hear, hear” and applause from the public gallery.

Questions were also raised about the legal arrangements of the GP Federation using the medical centre in St Helens Road, which is owned by Dr Prasad.

Previously, Dr Prasad told The Bolton News that he is paying more than £10,000 per month in mortgage and utility bills.

Cllr Andrew Morgan asked: “Is there a legally binding lease? Are they squatting?”

Ms Long told councillors: “The GP Federation is trying to agree a formal lease and has made representations to the legal representatives of Dr Prasad.”

She added: “I understand the GP Federation have made payments to Dr Prasad for the building. They told me they tried several times to agree a lease. The NHS has standard prices it pays and that’s been assessed and that lease hasn’t yet been agreed.

“The GP Federation have told me they are very keen to agree a lease.”

Cllr Greenhalgh suggested bringing Dr Prasad back to the surgery would make it easier to agree a lease, adding, “He’s probably in no man’s land.”

Ms Long told councillors about the implications of the breakdown of the partnership between Dr Prasad and his business partner Dr Hanif.

She explained that when the partnership between the two GPs was dissolved, their contract with NHS England to run a surgery also ceased to exist.

Ms Long said she had given guidance to Dr Prasad about this in the run up to the High Court judgement.

She said: “He was absolutely clear and aware of the implication of that partnership ending and what it meant. He was clear it meant that contract was no longer held by him.”

A member of the public then shouted: “lies”.

READ MORE: Campaign to get Dr Anant Prasad back in Shanti Medical Centre

The GP Federation is running Shanti Medical Centre as a temporary measure and once stability and good quality has been assured, the contract to run the surgery will be put out to tender. That process could take six to nine months, explained Ms Long.

The CCG installed the GP Federation because it has a responsibility handed down by NHS England to ensure patients have a primary care provider ­— their GP.

Cllr Ismail Ibrahim asked why patients had been left “totally in the dark” about the whole affair.

Ms Long said: “Initially, there weren't obvious changes. There was a change in management, but the same GPs were working. The reaction you’re seeing is more to do with Dr Prasad not being available. It’s been a judgement in timing.”

Ms Long told the councillors the GP Federation had been encouraged to write to its 6,500 patients to update them on the situation.

She promised to find out whether that letter had been sent and update the committee later.

Councillors on the committee agreed a motion to ask the CCG to “facilitate the return of Dr Prasad to Shanti Medical Centre” and to keep the committee updated. This was passed unanimously by the 15 councillors on the committee.

What happened at Shanti Medical Centre?

SHANTI Medical Centre had failed two inspections by the care watchdog before its partners broke their ties and health bosses were forced to step in.

In January 2015 Shanti was rated "good" overall, the report noted patients were happy with their care.

A statistical report looking at data from 2015/16 showed Shanti was above average for most of the areas looked at, like diabetes management and stroke prevention.

However, in November 2017 when it was inspected again things had changed. The centre had dropped two rankings to "inadequate", the lowest rating.

It was found to be failing in its care for most population groups, from families to the elderly.

The report noted: "Leaders were not working together for the benefit of the service and patients. Leaders did not consistently have the knowledge, capacity or desire to deliver an effective service and were out of touch with what was happening on a day to day basis."

Shanti was placed into special measures.

At the next inspection in March 2018, the report said, "little or no improvements have been made since our last inspection and the warning notices have not been met."

In the same month it emerged that three former members of staff had won a tribunal against their dismissal by one of the partners, Dr Shaista Hanif.

In July the partnership between Dr Anant Prasad and Dr Hanif was dissolved by the High Court.

Later that month bailiffs arrived to collect £330,000 debts owed to the tribunal winners.

Due to the partnership being dissolved the contract the pair held to run the surgery also ceased to exist.

READ MORE: Bailiffs show up at Shanti

Su Long, chief officer of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told councillors at a meeting on Tuesday: "Bolton CCG had to put in place temporary cover arrangements.”

This led to the GP Federation taking the contract to run the surgery in an interim basis, to ensure patients were still cared for and the CCG was meeting its responsibilities.

For a short time both Dr Prasad and Dr Hanif were employed on a locum basis at the centre they used to run. Dr Hanif left and Dr Prasad was suspended by NHS England for a short time.

At the moment the GP Federation is running the surgery out of the building owned by Dr Prasad to provide "continuity" Ms Long said. Rent payments have been made to Dr Prasad but no formal lease agreement has been made.