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Independents' Day

Hundred-year-old practice latest victim in practice closure epidemic

A GP practice in rural Northumberland is to close after more than 100 years, following a cut in funding and failure to recruit new GPs.

The Harbottle Surgery, which has branch surgeries in nearby Rothbury and Otterburn, will close on 28 August leaving about 800 patients needing to find a new doctor.

GPs at the practice said they had been forced to take the decision after suffering a ‘significant reduction’ in funding in April and after a shortage of GPs left it unable to recruit.

Dr Rina Miah, one of two GPs at the Harbottle Surgery, said recruitment efforts had failed despite the practice’s ‘very best efforts’.

She said: ‘Over the last few months we have tried really hard to recruit new GPs to work at Harbottle Surgery and its satellite clinics at Rothbury and Otterburn. Despite our very best efforts we have not been successful.

‘This, along with the practice’s new financial settlement, which will see a significant reduction in our funding from April 2016, means that sadly we are not able to continue to provide a GP service from Harbottle Surgery.’

Pulse recently revealed as part of the Stop Practice Closures campaign that thousands of patients have already been forced to find a new GP because of closures around the UK.

Dr Craig Melrose, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: ‘NHS England has worked closely with NHS Northumberland CCG to ensure arrangements are in place for patients to access alternative GP services and we are writing to patients to provide advice on how to register with another GP practice.’

Last month, the GPC called for urgent funding support to practices at risk of closure. In response, NHS England said it was working on a programme of support, as announced in the health secretary’s ‘new deal’, but Pulse revealed that this will be limited to practices that have been put in special measures by the CQC.


Readers' comments (14)

  • Locum GP 12.04

    Non.locums are doing an impeccable job also. They are the hard wiring of a net becoming holed by alien business folk.

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  • The locums that think they are keeping the practices afloat should think again. It is precisely because so many GPs are doing locum work that surgeries can't recruit and are failing in the first place. We need GPs in GP practices or we can say goodbye to the model of General Practice that the rest of the world has coveted and our patients actually want.

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  • Exactly 11.02. There is nothing wrong with the system but no system can survive the relentless reduction in resources when it is already acknowledged as providing the best value for money for any population based health system the world has to offer..

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  • But we can't blame locums for following market forces. Who would be a partner at the moment with so much insecurity when money is easier in another role and your mental health is almost certainly better?

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