Practice closures can have 'serious ramifications' for patients and NHS, says RCGP

Publication date: 30 May 2018

Responding to new figures on GP practice closures published in Pulse magazine, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Whether it’s in Plymouth, Brighton, Folkestone, or anywhere else in the UK, a GP practice closing can have serious ramifications for the patient population it served, neighbouring surgeries, the health and wellbeing of the GPs involved.

“Sometimes, a closure is due to a practice merging, or becoming part of a federation, so that it can pool resources in the best interests of patient care. But when it is because the practice team simply can’t cope with the resource and workforce pressures they are facing, it’s a serious failure of the system.

“GP surgeries will only hand back their contract to the NHS as an absolute last resort - but we are hearing that this is becoming increasingly common up and down the country, but particularly in rural and other ‘under-doctored’ areas where practices are finding it more difficult to recruit new GPs.

“For those living in isolated areas, this can mean having to travel long distances to get to their nearest surgery, and is a particular worry for those who might not drive and have to rely on public transport.

“The College, for several years, has consistently highlighted the pressures facing general practice, and the impact they are having on patient care, and the wellbeing of GPs and our teams, and we are frustrated at the slow pace of change.

“That’s why we urgently need to see NHS England’s GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs by 2020, delivered, in full - and similar promises made and delivered in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - to ensure patients continue to receive the care they need and deserve, regardless of where they live.”

 

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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