A GP surgery where staff allegedly faced "threatening incidents" has been brought under new management.

Rainham Health Centre in Upminster Road South is currently being run by private contractor Omnes Healthcare, but is set to be taken over by East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) from April 1.

The health centre's Patient Participation Group (PPG) chair Fay Hough told the Recorder that the move comes after several issues were raised by patients in recent months.

These included difficulties in getting appointments, the surgery being oversubscribed, elderly people being offered telephone appointments by locum doctors who worked remotely, and severe delays in receiving the results of hospital procedures.

Read More: Upminster Bridge Surgery to move to new site next year

Omnes was given the contract for the surgery, which has 5,800 patients on its books, around three years ago after the death of Dr Abdul-Razaq Abdullah from Covid.

In April last year, the PPG scheduled a meeting with the contractor to discuss the concerns at which no representative of Omnes turned up - frustrating the patients further.

Chair of the Omnes Group, Stephen Dorrell, had however apologised for the company’s failure to attend the meeting and had highlighted steps being taken to address patient complaints.

The surgery had launched a digital access platform to book appointments, which was the only means for doing so, in the hope of improving the patient experience.

Romford Recorder: Fay Hough, chairwoman of the Patient’s Participation Group (PPG)Fay Hough, chairwoman of the Patient’s Participation Group (PPG) (Image: Fay Hough)Fay agreed that there had been some improvements made to the surgery and things were “looking up” for sometime, but shortly after issues with getting appointments returned.

She added: “For me it was fine, the app worked but for elderly people and those with health problems it was still very difficult to get an appointment.

“Everyone has to get on the app at 8am and try and book it, and there was just no way to adjust any slots or book an emergency appointment outside of that system even if you went to the reception to get it done because they are also just doing it on the app."

Margaret Mullane, who is Labour's candidate for Dagenham and Rainham at the next parliamentary election, alerted the police's borough commander to what she claimed were a number of "threatening incidents" at the health centre.

A Met Police spokesperson confirmed it had received three reports in the last six months concerning Rainham Health Centre and nearby Maylands Health Centre.

They added: "In two instances, there was no suspect on scene and in the third instance, officers arrived within four minutes of the call which is within charter time.

"Our neighbourhoods team have attended Rainham Health Centre to provide reassurance and to discuss any concerns and we remain in contact with them.

"Staff at the medical centre have confirmed that there have been no recent incidents needing police assistance."

With patients increasingly complaining to the NHS, Fay said the service finally made the decision to end its contract with Omnes.

She expressed her delight at ELFT's takeover of the service and said: “East London NHS Foundation Trust has a great CQC rating, it seems like a very good thing for us that they are taking over."

ELFT confirmed Rainham Health Centre is one of four GP practices it is taking over in east London, with Upminster Medical Centre among the others.

A trust spokesperson said it aimed to "further develop a culture of patient and staff-led improvements and collaboration".

Mr Dorrell told the Recorder that Omnes is “disappointed” with the takeover news but recognised that there were unresolved issues with their service at the surgery.

“We recognise that the support provided to staff employed at the practice has not been as we would have wished.

“Despite these disappointments we believe we have been able to deliver some improvements at the practice – particularly by using the Evergreen App to improve access for many patients.

“We remain committed to delivering services to the highest possible standard until our contract ends on 31st March, and working with the Integrated Care Board and the incoming provider to achieve a handover which is as smooth as possible for patients and staff."