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At the heart of general practice since 1960

‘This is like a bereavement’

Dr Robert Mockett’s practice had to take the decision to close on Saturday 28 February. Speaking to us two days before the practice closed, he said it was a  ‘sad day for our 100-year old practice’

We have just two days left working as GPs here until the practice closes and the outpouring of emotion from patients has had me in tears nearly all morning.

I like to think I’m a pretty resilient chap – I’ve ridden motorcycles all over the world and kept pretty fit – but nothing could have prepared me for the bereavement that we are going through with our patients.

I had really hoped the surgery would be able continue as a practice but it was not to be.

A mixture of increasing workload and dropping income meant there was no way we could safely carry on. My partner and I are spent. But I have been at this practice for 26 years and I feel like a rat leaving a sinking ship

I thought I’d stay until 65, but I would not survive. I feel for my lovely patients.

RIP the NHS family doctor

We have to sell the practice as we have a huge mortgage and redundancy packages to pay for staff, not to mention the other accountancy costs to wind down a business.

NHS England is now offering neighbouring practices £25 for each of our patients they take on.

When you also consider around half a billion pounds is being spent on our local hospital, you’d have thought the NHS buying our practice would have been a better use of money than spending tens of thousands in incentives to other practices to take our patients on.

We have been silent until now, but it has to be said that NHS England has not been much help to us at all.

How will the other local practices cope? Through the QOF?

It’s a sad day for a practice that has been here in Brighton for nigh-on 100 years. But no one except us and our patients really seems to care that our old-fashioned, cradle-to-grave partnership is done.

I am lucky and can go because I will be 55 soon; a new chapter will open for me.

RIP the NHS family doctor.

Dr Robert Mockett is a GP in Brighton.

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Readers' comments (18)

  • RIP Traditional General Practice. I offer my condolences.

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  • My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk...

    Indeed, it is tragic that you have to let go of something you have built up, people you have cared for and associations and ideals you have cherished. But do politicians care?
    Bereavement to them is loss of influence, personal gains and votes.

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  • Vinci Ho

    For those who always criticise GPs of thinking of money ahead of our patients , open your bloody eyes to see who is the real enemy of people ; it is called NHSE , Ministry of Plenty(1984) behind which is a dictatorial regime which is of the GDP , by the GDP and for the GDP.
    Dear Robert,
    Please live long and prosper. You will always live in the mind of your patients.........

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  • The day they bury NHSE will be a great day. It will change the way Health Services are run. KPCA burial must take place at the same time because these two quangos have gone out of government control and need to be liquidated so there is transparency in the system and the government can regain control over finances. We do not want parasitic institutions gnawing at the roots of our NHS.
    Dear Robert, I strongly feel for your loss and can understand what you are going through having been almost closed myself with mafia like threats from people associated with NHS Contract Managers and present NHSE bosses one of whom emphasised thrice that he did not care what patient opinion was. Hope you find a position which will allow you to continue working at your own pace. The truth is, the bitter taste in the mouth lingers on for oh so long.

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  • I am sad for you and your partner that it has come to this. But as you state this is the beginning of the end of general practice as we know it and the Government through NHSE have killed it so they must be held accountable.

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  • It seems that our familiar general practice is following the high street shop oblivion of the first 15 yrs of this century. Welcome to the Tesco's of general practice and all the similar problems they have had. :(

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  • Since Ken Clarke, Secretary of State for Health, made his remarks about GPs reaching for their wallets back in the early 1990s, the knives have been out for General Practice. No MP, except those who have been trained as GPs before entering parliament, have ever understood what GPs do and why they are vital to the survival of a fair health system that treats people according to need, not want. As MPs continually make the mistake of thinking that process, not values are the important drivers of change, they interfered disastrously in the systems when all they had to do was democratically establish the values and let the professionals respond, as they always have, with imagination and purpose. The 2012 H and SC Act was the final nail in the traditional GPs coffin. in failing to realise what amazing value the nation receives for General Practice, in failing to use more imaginative ways to improve less than adequate GPs, in failing to invest in General Practice, they have allowed GPs and thus their patients to be victims of their false propaganda. Now we see the massive fallout. Whatever systems they adopt, it will cost massively more to the nation in one way or the other. There simply is no service that can potentially deliver the highest level of quality for this cost. If we have a salaried service to external management, quality will dive, unless GPs are salaried to themselves, in co-operatives, where they have some real control over how services are developed and delivered. This is what we are trained for and this is the only way you will keep experienced GPs in the system. We have not gained all this experience to be puppets. There are people in NHSE who value General Practice but they need to make more noise and argue more successfully for resources for General Practice.
    In the meantime, tragedies are allowed to happen, like that of Dr Mockett and his practice. I am so saddened by this wanton devaluing of what is clearly such a patient centred service and the committed doctors who have run it.

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  • Thank you - both partners at the practice- for trying so hard to look after patients,which,after all,is what we trained for and wish to be allowed to do.
    You could not have done more to be a " proper family doctor" for your patients,but,sadly,the politicians now seem to equate " want" with "need", so slowly decent medical practice is dying out.
    The old story of " The monkey's paw" deserves consideration,perhaps?
    Thank you both,for everything.

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  • For Dr.Mockett,
    I am sorry for you as a human being. However, being a GP is no more a respected job and remember the patients for whom we fight against the government, for whom we work ourselves out, will still take us to GMC. Time is the biggest healer. Find your self locum jobs, they are plenty. Just do your shift, get paid and move on.

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  • It is not a bereavement, you have cut your losses short.

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