Care bosses’ GP axe fears


CARE managers of a Hartlepool retirement complex have spoken of their fears of a proposal to close its on-site GP surgery.

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, which runs Hartfields retirement village, says the loss of its medical practice, would have a detrimental effect on its residents.

NHS England is conducting a review of the GP contract provided at the practice, and is recommending its closure, with over 2,000 patients having to find other practices.

The NHS says the practice has not reached the level of patients in five years under the Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract.

The practice is also used by many non-Hartfields residents who live in the surrounding area.

A Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust spokesman said: “The trust does not want to see Hartfields lose the GP surgery located here.

“Hartfields is an innovative model of how we can provide quality care and support for the future, linked to essentials services like the on-site GP surgery.

“Closure would have a detrimental impact on our residents, the vast majority of whom are registered at the practice. At the moment, they are able to walk to appointments, or attend them with help from carers.

“Closure could mean our residents lose some of their independence, and it could also result in residents requesting more home visits from GPs, which may have higher financial costs for the NHS.

“Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust is formulating a formal response to the consultation being conducted by the Durham, Darlington and Tees Area Team of NHS England.”

Fens Medical Practice and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre, are also under review.

The NHS is proposing to merge them with fears by Fens residents’ that their smaller surgery will close.

The Fens Residents’ Association is spearheading a campaign to save it by encouraging patients to take part in the consultation.

Posters have been distributed around the Fens shopping parade and in The Fens Pub.

The poster states: “The NHS has done enough damage to our town already by stripping Hartlepool Hospital of essential services.

“Enough is enough, this time they have to be stopped.”