About 10,000 patients in Bournemouth will have to change their GP practice, after a health centre announced its intention to close.
GP partners at Winton Health Centre said they have made the ‘difficult decision’ to end their NHS contract on 31 July, although they did not define their reasons.
The ICB told Pulse that ‘well known ongoing workforce and recruitment pressures’ coupled with ongoing financial pressures meant the partners at the health centre are ‘no longer able to guarantee delivery of safe primary care services for registered patients.’
It comes as many other GP practices are handing back contracts over issues such as recruitment difficulties and workload.
In a message to patients, the partners said they had been working with other local partners to explore options for a merger or takeover to enable the surgery to remain open, but ‘unfortunately without success.’
The message added: ‘Therefore, Winton Health Centre will close on 31 July and the surgery premises will no longer be used for GP services after this date.
‘As a result of the closure, all patients will be transferred to a different practice. This transfer will be done automatically, and patients do not need to do anything to continue to receive care.
‘NHS Dorset have written to all our registered patients to tell them which local practice they will be transferred to before the practice closure.’
Dr Paul Johnson, chief medical officer at NHS Dorset, told Pulse that the ICB had also explored options for a merger or takeover but without success.
He said: ‘Since the current GP partners at Winton Health Centre notified us of their intention to terminate their contract, we have been exploring options for a merger or takeover of the surgery, however these have been without success meaning the surgery will close after 31 July 2023.
‘Last week we wrote to all registered patients to inform them of this. As a result of the closure, patients will be transferred to an alternate practice from 31 July 2023, and we will be writing to everyone shortly to inform them which one they will be transferred to and what other options they may have.’
According to a report by the BBC, other recent nearby practice closures included included the North Harbour Medical Group, Portsmouth (9,000 patients), Abbotsbury Road Surgery in Weymouth (9,000 patients) and Beech Grove Surgery in Brading, on the Isle of Wight (4,500 patients).
Meanwhile, a patients’ group in Shropshire is looking at buying its local GP surgery building, to save it from closure and make it more attractive to new doctors.
And the BMA has called for urgent action to save general practice in Northern Ireland, after the 15th GP practice in a year handed back its contract.