CAMPAIGNERS trying to save GP practices threatened with the axe are urging patients not to abandon their surgeries.
NHS England is recommending it axes the GP contract provided by Hartfields Medical Practice, and merging Fens and Wynyard Road surgeries, with patients forced to change their GP.
It says the three Hartlepool practices have not attracted the level of patients expected in five years in order to provide value for money.
Robert Smith, chairman of Fens Residents’ Association, and Jeff Stephens, chairman of Hartfields Medical Practice Patient Participation Group, have written a joint letter urging patients not to jump ship.
In it, they say that affected patients may be thinking “should I transfer out as soon as possible in case the NHS gets its way and surgeries are closed or merged”.
It adds: “The answer is definitely no.
“Patients who do this are giving in to the faceless bureaucrats who keep messing about with our NHS.The letter asks how the closure suggestions are “preposterous” when “they have all but closed our hospital and promised we would have more community services and general practices instead”.
“The bottom line is there is no advantage whatsoever in panicking and ‘jumping ship’ over the issue,” adds the letter.
“Make a stand, let the NHS know we have had enough of their meddling in our services.”
The letter also adds that Hartlepool has one of the poorest ratios of GPs to patients, and urges: “We cannot let the bureaucrats make the situation any worse”.
The letter asks patients to complete a consultation form at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReviewofGPservicesatFensMedicalPractice, www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReviewofGPservicesatHartfieldsMedicalPractice and www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReviewofGPservicesatWynwardRoadMedicalPractice
Alternatively, people can collect a copy of the form from the surgery.
Campaigners are also urged to write a protest letter to Cameron Ward, NHS England Local Area Team Director, NHS England North, Durham, Darlington & Tees Area Team, The Old Exchange, Barnard Street, Darlington DL3 7DR.
A decision is due on the practices future next month.