Hampden Park Surgery could close next spring if it doesn’t recruit more doctors.
Manor Park Surgery sent a letter to patients saying it has “struggled to recruit new GPs” after losing three and is considering closing the Brodrick Lane practice on April 1, 2020.
This would mean current Hampden Park patients would be transferred to the surgery’s main site in Polegate, where more clinical space will be created.
Dr Russell Brown is the only current GP at the Hampden Park service. He said, “It’s a safety issue. We have lost three doctors over the last 18 months.
“There used to be four of us and now there’s just me. We are two full-time GPs down now.”
The letter sent to patients said it was part of a wider trend of a shortage of GPs nationally – of around 8,000-10,000.
Dr Brown said, “Recruitment is very difficult. We have put adverts out. I can’t look after two sites properly and support my team on two sites.
“I have had to change how I see patients. I see fewer as I’m having to do three people’s work. It’s very stressful. It’s unremitting. There is constant pressure.
“I get the frustrations people are feeling but when I explain exactly what’s going on it doesn’t help but they do at least understand and sympathise.”
He stressed safety has been the main focus of his decision. “I can’t run a service where I think people might come to harm because we can’t do it safely.
“It’s difficult to see how we could not do it. It’s not something we want to do but I don’t see how we can keep both sites going.”
Three thousand patients are registered at the Hampden Park surgery, with 7,250 overall for both surgeries.
But Dr Brown stressed no patients would be removed. He said, “It’s about concentrating the service so we can run them safely and effectively.
“If I don’t make sure it’s safe we could get closed down by the CQC. Which is not good for those 7,000 people. Then it’s a domino effect on the other GPs in the area.
“I have been here 20 years, it’s my practice, these are my patients. I don’t want this place to fold, I like it here. But my options are limited.”
The GP, who has been at the surgery for 20 years, said, “The job’s changed significantly when I have been doing it. In 20 years it’s not the same, even as five years ago.
“A lot of work is moving from the hospital to the communities. It’s like all the other public services, we are under pressure the same as everywhere else.
“It’s going to be different but unfortunately that’s the way it’s going. People are going to find GPs are acting more in a consulting capacity, overseeing teams.
“They are deciding we can do everything but haven’t provided the funding.”
There are three practices which cover Hampden Park: Park Practice, Grove Road Surgery, and The Lighthouse.
Patients are encouraged to contact Hampden Park Surgery if they have any further questions.