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Labour calls for review into patient allocation following GP practice closure

Labour politicians have called for an investigation into why patients in Folkestone have been left without a GP after their practice handed back its contract and the seven other practices in the town applied to have their lists formally closed.

Folkestone East Family Practice (FEFP) handed back its contract in May amid financial and recruitment issues, leaving 4,700 patients forced to look for a new GP.

Labour said that it had been contacted by many former Folkestone East patients who are yet to find a new GP and had not heard back from Primary Care Support England, despite sending off their preference forms for the allocation of a new GP.

Labour said in it was concerned about the 1,177 patients deemed vulnerable by the practice, but not by the CCG, who had not been automatically allocated a new GP.

Laura Davison, Folkestone and Hythe Labour candidate in June’s general election said: ‘There are a lot of unanswered questions about this re-allocation process. The worry of it has made people ill.

‘There should be a proper investigation into examples of where things have gone wrong. We can’t just let time go by and hope everything just quietly sorts itself out. That’s not good enough.’

Folkestone East is the latest in a wave of surgeries being forced to close amid the deepening GP recruitment crisis.

BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: ‘With nine in ten practices telling us their workloads are unmanageable and a third of GP partner unable to fill vacancies, the situation is not confined to Folkestone.

‘Urgent action is needed now to alleviate pressures, support struggling practices and ensure patient care is not disrupted by further closures.’