A shortage of GPs has forced a practice in Dorset to close after it was unable to find replacements for retiring doctors.
The Abbotsbury Road Surgery in Weymouth announced last month that it will hand back its contract at the end of March next year.
GP partners at the two-site practice said an ageing workforce and national shortage of GPs means that it has been unable to recruit enough new GPs to keep the practice running.
They added: ‘We have therefore concluded that it is unsafe to continue to try to provide general medical services for our populations of 9,000 patients with a skeleton clinical staff without risking the health and safety of our patients and out staff.’
NHS Dorset CCG said GPs in Weymouth and Portland are working together to develop plans to keep primary care services functional.
Dr Karen Kirkham, the CCG’s clinical chair for the locality, said: ‘The partners at Abbotsbury Road Surgery have made the difficult decision to hand back their contract at the end of March 2019.’
She added that the staff from the Abbotsbury Road Surgery and the Chickerell branch would ‘be supported by the CCG and local practices’, suggesting they would continue to work in local general practice.
She said: ‘All of our primary care staff, clinical and non-clinical, are a hugely valuable resource, and the team at the practice will have a crucial role to play in the continuation of local services.
‘We have a great track record for working together across the Weymouth and Portland locality, and we will continue to provide the high quality general practice that has always been at the heart of all that we do.’
The news comes as Pulse reported earlier this week that over 40,000 patients could lose their GP amid upcoming practice closures in Wales, Durham, London and Northern Ireland.