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Another 6,000 patients displaced as practice closes due to GP shortage

Another 6,000 patients displaced as practice closes due to GP shortage

Thousands more patients will need to find a new GP as as another practice has been forced to close due to the workforce shortage.

NHS Somerset confirmed that Springmead Surgery in Chard, which cares for 6,000 patients, will be closing permanently on 24 February.

The practice had already been providing ‘reduced services’ since December last year ‘due to staffing shortages.’

A spokesperson from the ICB said: ‘This difficult decision has been taken due to ongoing staff shortages and recruitment problems, an issue that affects the NHS nationally.

‘We would like to thank all the practice staff who are working hard at an extremely challenging time to care for their patients.

‘Patients do not need to do anything. Care will be automatically transferred to Ariel Healthcare in Chard. We are working closely with Ariel Healthcare to ensure the smooth transfer of care.

‘Patients should continue to contact Springmead for their healthcare needs, including prescriptions, until it closes and will be receiving further communications in the coming weeks.

In a statement on their website, the practice said that ‘verbal harassment and threats of physical harm are not acceptable’ as its staff is working hard to provide the services until the practice’s closure.

It said: ‘Staff at Springmead Surgery have been working hard to continue to ensure patients have access to care at the practice.

‘We understand it can be frustrating when it is difficult to get through to the Practice or make an appointment, particularly when you are feeling unwell.

‘Verbal harassment and threats of physical harm are not acceptable and we will take action to protect our team while we help you. We ask you to be patient and be kind when dealing with our staff during this busy time.’

Similarly in York, a GP practice has been closed for more than two months due to staff shortages partly caused by abuse to its receptionists.

The Haxby Group, which run 13 GP surgeries across York, Scarborough and Hull, serving more than 92,000 patients, was forced to shut its practice in Stockton on the Forest, as it could ‘no longer provide a safe service’ due to difficulties in recruiting reception staff.

Last month, a Welsh GP practice warned it will have to shut unless it is able to recruit additional GPs, likening itself to a sinking ship.

Staff at Borth Surgery in Ceredigion announced ‘with a heavy heart’ that the practice will close without new recruits, as the current situation is ‘unsustainable’ and ‘the ship is sinking.’

Last week, new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that almost a quarter of patients were unable to get a GP appointment last month, as the RCGP called for bold plans to solve the workforce crisis.