NHS bosses have urged patients of three under-threat GP practices not to jump ship and register with new surgeries.
A consultation is underway 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, in a move which has sparked anger across Hartlepool.
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.
Hartfields Medical Practice only opened in April 2009 and is an integral part of Hartfields Retirement Village as well as serving patients across Hartlepool including the expanding Bishop Cuthbert estate.
It has twice been voted the Best Medical Practice in the Mail’s Best of Health Awards, in 2011 and 2012.
Opponents of the moves have spoken out about the plans and have urged people to taker part in the consultation.
Now bosses at NHS England say people should not re-register with a new GP practice and should take part in the consultation before a decision in made next month.
A spokesperson for NHS England’s Durham, Darlington & Tees Area Team, said: “The intention of this consultation is to seek views from patients and local stakeholders about the proposals to change the number of APMS contracts (practices) held by the area team.
“At the end of the consultation we will prepare a report which will help with any decisions to be taken. The area team will review the result of the consultation and make a decision regarding the future of services in October 2014.
“We would not wish to pre-empt the outcome of the consultation and there is no need for patients to re-register at alternative practices at this stage. Once a decision has been made, we will write to patients and our stakeholders to let them know the outcome of the consultation.”
The consultation closes on September 29. To take part patients and stakeholders should visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/HartlepoolAPMSConsultation
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