Two Hartlepool GP surgeries could close under proposals which would potentially affect thousands of patients.
Health chiefs have launched an eight week public consultation exercise on three options for the future of Fens Medical Centre, Hartfields Medical Practice and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre.
Option one is for one provider to manage the Fens and Wynyard Road sites. The second is one provider to manage Hartfields and Wynyard Road, while the third is to keep Wynyard Road only.
Ali Wilson, chief officer of NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The consultation is the next major step towards deciding how services might be delivered.
“The CCG wants to understand the views of as many patients as possible; and will then develop plans for services which continue to meet local need and are sustainable for the future.
“We have already received a significant amount of interest from patients in how these services are delivered at the three practices.”
If one is sacrificed it’s going to have a very detrimental effect on other practices across the town where patients already have difficulty in getting appointments quickly and seeing their preferred doctorRobert Smith, Fens Residents Association
Each surgery’s contract, which have been previously extended, is due to expire on March 31 next year.
All three centres, which have over 7,000 registered patients between them, were given a stay of execution after coming under review in 2014.
But the CCG says further extensions are no longer viable as short-term contracts are unsustainable in the long-term, both financially and for effective patient care.
In June, more than 2,500 people completed a survey which formed the basis of the new consultation.
A total of 12 possible scenarios were considered by the CCG and compared against a set of criteria including premises, affordability sustainability and patient feedback before arriving at the final three.
Robert Smith, chairman of the Fens Residents’ Association, urged patients to remain with their current practice and take part in the consultation.
He said: “There is a lot of disappointment that there isn’t an option to tender for all three which I believe was strongly indicated in the previous consultation.
“Fens and Hartfields are both practices which are highly important to their patients.
“If one is sacrificed it’s going to have a very detrimental effect on other practices across the town where patients already have difficulty in getting appointments quickly and seeing their preferred doctor.
“We accept economies have to be faced up to but these can be achieved by the three practices continuing under one management.
“That will protect patient ratio, continue local primary care access and provide economies to the NHS.”
Series of events are being held to give your views to proposed changes.
A series of events will held across Hartlepool for residents to express their views on the CCG’s plans for the three GP surgeries.
Under the options either Hartfields Medical Centre or Fens Medical Centre, or both, are set to close.
Ali Wilson of the CCG said: “Throughout the consultation, we want to reassure patients that there will be no change to the range of services they receive at their practice.”
Details and times of the events are:
Wednesday, August 31, at Hartlepool College of Further Education, Stockton Street, Hartlepool, 10am–11:30am;
Saturday, September 3, at Rossmere Youth Centre, Rossmere Way, Hartlepool, 10am-11.30am;
Monday, September 5, at Hartfields Retirement Village, Merlin Way, Hartlepool, 6pm-7.30pm;
Tuesday, September 6, at Summerhill Visitors, Centre, Summerhill Lane, Hartlepool, 1pm-2.30pm;
Saturday, September 10, at Hartfields Retirement Village, Merlin Way, Hartlepool, 11am-12.30pm;
Monday, September 12, Kilmarnock Road Children & Young People Family Resource Centre, 44 Kilmarnock Road, Hartlepool, 6pm-7.30pm.
Patients are asked to register through the CCG’s dedicated consultation webpage which can be found at http://www.hartlepoolandstocktonccg.nhs.uk/news/projects/fens-hartfields-wynyard-road-project-say/
Alternatively, email NECSU.email@example.com or phone (0191) 3742795.