Campaigners urge patients to fight for the future of Hartlepool GP practices

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save their local GP practice from potential closure are urging patients not to miss out on the chance to have their say.

A consultation is underway with patients and other stakeholders over NHS proposals to merge Fens Medical Centre in Hartlepool with the nearby Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre, prompting fears the smaller Fens practice will close.

NHS England is also proposing to axe Hartfields Medical Centre with over 2,000 patients having to find other GP practices.

The NHS says the GP contracts provided by the three practices have not attracted enough patients since they were formed and will become too costly in the long term.

The Fens Residents’ Association, which is spearheading the campaign to keep Fens Medical Centre, is urging patients to have their say before the consultation closes on September 29.

Chairman Robert Smith said: “We are aware that there are still a number of patients who are not regular visitors to the Fens surgery who have not yet obtained the consultation form.

“Perhaps they are thinking that the suggested merger of the Fens and Wynyard Road practices is a ‘done deal’, so why bother with the consultation.

“The fact is that it is not a done deal and the greater the response from patients the better the chance we have of maintaining the status quo. This applies to all three practices under review.

“Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, Fens Residents’ Association and councillors from all the wards affected by the review are vigorously opposing the threat, but for the right final decision to be made by the NHS, all patients must make their views known.”

Patients who have already responded have strongly underlined issues including many of them previously transferred from practices all their lives.

They add nobody was told the practices could be limited to just five years, that the patient number targets were set too high and the NHS has overlooked proposals for major housing developments near all three practices under review.

They also say Hartlepool already has a poor rate of doctors to patients, and needs improving, not making worse by closing practices.

To take part in the consultation patients can pick up a copy of the form from the practice or complete it online at

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReviewofGPservicesatFensMedicalPractice