Two practices to close due to recruitment problems

Two Herefordshire practice are set to close because they are unable to recruit enough GPs.

Consultation: shortage of GPs has left practices struggling (Photo: JH Lancy)
Consultation: shortage of GPs has left practices struggling (Photo: JH Lancy)

Branches of the Kington Medical Practice in Eardisley and Pembridge are set to close following access issues caused by recruitment problems.

NHS England has said the main practice in Kington has enough capacity to cope with patients from the closed branches. The practice is looking at putting on free transport for patients to travel to the main surgery and using technology to improve access.

A survey of practices by GP last month found a third have at least one GP vacancy, and one in six of these have been unable to fill a post for more than a year.

Trainees set to emigrate

One LMC found in a recent survey of trainee GPs that one in eight plan to leave the country within the next 12 months.

Kington Medical Practice declined to comment.

Sue Price, director of commissioning for Arden, Herefordshire & Worcestershire at NHS England, said: ‘Recently, we have been working closely with Kington Medical Practice and Herefordshire CCG after issues were raised about levels of access at the practice following challenges in recruiting doctors.

‘As a result of these discussions, the practice has taken the difficult decision that it is no longer possible to maintain its two branch surgeries in Eardisley and Pembridge.

‘We know that patients will be upset by the proposed closure of their local GP practice, and we are very sorry for any disruption this may cause.

‘NHS England is committed to ensuring that everyone is able to access high-quality local GP services, and, as part of this agreement with Kington Medical Practice, we have looked at GP availability across the local area.

Pledge to safeguard services

‘We have identified that there is capacity in the practice’s main surgery in Kington, which will ensure that no one will be left without access to a GP if these branch surgeries are closed. However, we are keen to get the views of patients.

‘The practice is considering the possibility of negotiating some free local transport to support patients to travel to its main surgery in Kington. They are also considering how they can use technology to improve the services they offer and save patients travelling when a physical examination isn’t required.

‘NHS England will work closely with the practice to contact all patients who may be affected to inform them of the proposed closure and get their views as part of a three month conversation about their local needs.

‘In the meantime, if patients have booked appointments with a GP or nurse at either the Eardisley or Pembridge surgery, they should continue to attend these.’

Herefordshire CCG's GP lead for primary care liaison Dr Crispin Fisher said: 'Herefordshire CCG wholeheartedly supports this necessary and sensible decision and will be working very hard with colleagues at the practice and NHS England to ensure the best quality of care for patients in the area.'

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