England General practitioner

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Surgery closure piles on pressure

healthcare

General practice needs a programme of long-term investment, doctors leaders have warned, after another local surgery was forced to close.

The GP principal at Lewes Road Surgery in Brighton has handed back its contract – meaning seven practices, covering 30,000 patients, have closed in less than two years.

The 2,300 patients reliant on the surgery have been told to use a local walk-in centre, and local NHS leaders said the closure would mean more pressure being piled on to an ‘already stretched’ health system.

Doctors leaders have called for the Government to take urgent action – with GPs across the country facing unprecedented demands with dwindling resource.

‘This is a disastrous situation for the people of Brighton and highlights once again the crisis facing general practice across the country,’ BMA GPs committee deputy chair Richard Vautrey said.

‘GP services are being overwhelmed by a combination of rising patient demand, contracting budgets and chronic staff shortages.

'Recent BMA surveys have found that a third of GP practices have had vacancies for 12 months, nine out of 10 believe their workload is damaging patient safety and more than 300 GP practices face closure.

‘We cannot allow this situation to go on. The Government must begin a programme of long-term investment in GP services that ensures all patients have access to the services they need.’

The news was revealed in a letter sent by NHS England director of commissioning Sarah Macdonald.

It said: ‘Lewes Road Surgery is working with locum GPs to provide some urgent appointments, but this is dependent on the availability of locum GPs. It is likely that we will need to ask you to register with another local GP practice to guarantee your ongoing care after 31 January.’

Surrey and Sussex local medical committees chief executive Julius Parker said: ‘Obviously it’s another practice closing, it’s another dispersal in an area that has significant capacity problems.’

It comes just days after prime minister Theresa May appeared to scapegoat GPs for the wider NHS crisis.

BMA GPs' survey

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