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GP surgery forced to shut down for three days due to heatwave

A GP surgery in Kent has been forced to shut its doors to patients during this week’s intense heatwave.

The Garlinge Surgery in Margate, Kent, which operates out of portakabins, decided to close when they saw indoor temperatures reach 31C on Wednesday.

Practices operating out of portakabins have become increasingly common due to expired premises leases and expanding patient populations.

Thursday temperatues for Margate were reported as 32C in the shade, but the practice is expecting to be back to normal by Monday when temperatures are forecast to be a more manageable 23C.

The Garlinge Surgery serves 15,500 patients together with The Limes Medical Centre in Margate, two miles away.

A spokesperson for NHS Thanet CCG said the Garlinge Surgery is looking to source air conditioning units to regulate the temperature in the portakabins.

The spokesperson added: ‘In the interim, as a short-term, common sense measure to protect patients and staff, we agreed with the practice that patients would be seen at the main base, the Limes Medical Centre.

‘There are still the same number of appointments, just in a different location. The branch surgery will reopen as soon as possible.’

Practice manager Julie Sandem told Pulse that the GP usually based at Garlinge is temporarily seeing patients at The Limes Medical Centre ‘because, 31 degrees – you can imagine – it’s not good for patients that are unwell’.

She added: ‘There was no service disruption. No appointments lost. No facilities lost. Basically, the patients are being seen here [at The Limes Medical Centre] because it’s cooler.’

Ms Sandem said Garlinge Surgery, which is usually closed on the weekend, ‘will be back to normal on Monday’.

This comes as the UK is facing an unprecedented heat wave, with the Met Office predicting temperatures to hit 36 degrees before the end of the week.

Meanwhile, according to official figures, the number of patients who have visited the NHS Choices website for advice on heat exhaustion, heatstroke and heat rash has increased by almost 450% this month, when compared with last July.