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Further small practice set to close in crisis town

Another GP practice in the crisis town of Plymouth has had its impending closure confirmed.

The sole GP partner at Park View Surgery, Dr Pradeep Sahadevan, has decided that the practice will close on New Year’s Eve. 

A spokesperson for NHS Devon CCG said that he informed them ‘that the practice is too small to be sustainable’.

Park View Surgery is one of the smallest practices in South West England, serving a patient size of 1,191, and joins a growing list of those in the coastal city to permanently shut their doors. 

A local GP said that this latest closure suggests that single-handed practices are becoming harder and harder to keep going.

Plymouth has been particularly hard-hit by the recent spate of closures across the country. This spring, Plymouth’s 10,000-patient Mannamead Surgery had to return its contract, while a fifth of practices in the city did the same between 2015 and 2018

The practice, which will cease to offer routine appointments just over a month before closing, was previously believed to be merging with Friary House Surgery situated a mile away. However, staff at Friary House Surgery, whose boundary extends to the whole city, have instead clarified that they will take on some of Park View’s patients, amid them being encouraged to begin the process of registering elsewhere.

Jo Turl, director of commissioning at NHS Devon CCG, said: ‘Our priority is to ensure everyone registered at Park View Surgery continues to have access to local general practice services. We are pleased to say that other local practices are willing to take new patients and it is very important that patients of Park View Surgery register with one of them.

‘Park View Surgery is one of the smallest GP practices in the South West, with around 1,000 registered patients. Some very small GP practices are increasingly finding it difficult to operate so are being encouraged to work at scale. This not only increases their resilience but enables them to offer a wider range of services.

‘In the meantime, all services continue at Park View Surgery and patients should attend appointments as normal. We are writing to patients with further information this week and will keep them up to date with developments.’

A total of 138 practices closed in the UK last year, resulting in 519,500 patients being relocated, according to freedom of information requests by Pulse.

A Pulse investigation in 2018 revealed that local GPs were predicting the situation in Plymouth a decade ago. 

In many cases, seaside communities are prone to issues with closures and recruitment, with BrightonFolkestone, and Frinton-on-Sea also serving as examples along the south coast. 

Dr Sahadevan declined to comment.