Patients unhappy over GP closure plans

PUBLISHED: 13:29 06 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:26 19 July 2012

Archant

THE potential closure of two Weston GP surgeries has attracted negative feedback during a public consultation involving more than 1,000 patients.

More than 70 per cent of those who contacted NHS North Somerset during its six-week review expressed their unhappiness and concern at the possible closure of centres at Weston General Hospital and the Boulevard.

A total of 1,088 patients would be forced to register at other practices should the health authority push ahead with plans.

All affected were sent a questionnaire in January and four public meetings were held to discuss the idea in May.

But only 21 written responses were received, of which 15 were concerned by the changes and the remainder only happy if they continued to receive the same quality of care.

An NHS North Somerset spokesman said closing the two surgeries will allow money to be reinvested in the health service generally and the urgent care centre at the hospital. Patients would still be able to see a GP through the walk-in centre but would not be able to register there.

The hospital GP centre, which was set up in 2009, was believed to be duplicating many services already provided on site.

An independent report, published this week, said patients’ frustrations were borne out of frustration of losing a service they value highly.

It said: “The major response was that of praise and satisfaction of the GP service at the hospital although the Boulevard was not mentioned significantly.

“Those that were not unhappy about the changes were keen to point out that the alternatives need to be clearly explained and ‘match’ the current service they receive with regard to access and quality.”

The findings will be submitted to North Somerset Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel on July 26 for further discussion.

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