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Another practice closure brings tally to 13 in single town

Another GP surgery in Brighton and Hove is to close, taking the toll to 13 in four years, including two branch surgeries and practices lost through mergers.

The latest to shut will be the Matlock Road Surgery, a single-handed practice in Matlock Road, Brighton, when its lease expires next year.

The practice – which has 3,000 patients – is expected to merge with the nearby Beaconsfield Medical Practice, which shares its Preston Road premises in Brighton with the Stanford Medical Centre.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that there were more practice closures than ever last year, with around 138 shutting their doors.

Brighton has been particularly badly affected, and was featured as part of Pulse’s ‘Postcards from the Edge’ series last year, which highlighted the problems encountered by seaside towns.

Councillor Sarah Nield, a member of Brighton and Hove City Council Health and Wellbeing Board, said: ‘While Brighton and Hove CCG claims that services will not be affected, I’m concerned that this may mean we will lose yet another GP surgery in the city when we are already dealing with a dwindling number of surgeries and an appalling GP-to-patient ratio.’

The ratio is believed one GP to about 2,500 patients, among the worst in the country, according to a BBC analysis of NHS data earlier this year.

Councillor Nield said: ‘Instead of endless “integration” plans that herald yet more savings, the needs of our residents and the impact of GP surgery closures on our community must be addressed.’

She added: ‘I’m particularly concerned about how this will affect our elderly or more vulnerable residents.’

Although the distance from Matlock Road to Preston Road is just under a mile, the steep hill could present difficulties to anyone with mobility problems but without a car or taxi. And there is no direct link by public transport.

Brighton and Hove CCG said that it welcomed the Matlock Road Surgery merger with the Beaconsfield Medical Practice and said: ‘The proposed business plan reflects the wishes of the GP partners and is not the result of any CCG funding cuts or reorganisation plans.

‘Every effort is made by our CCG to support local general practice services which are facing the same pressures that are being reported from around England.’