Outcry at axe threat to Fens doctor’s practice

Fens resident Robert Smith.
Fens resident Robert Smith.

RESIDENTS have mobilised quickly to fight to save their doctor’s surgery from possible closure.

The Fens Residents’ Association is leading a campaign to retain the Fens Medical Centre practice which is under threat.

GP commissioners with NHS England are reviewing their contract, with the proposal to merge with Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre, leading to fears the smaller Fens practice will close.

Health bosses say it has not reached its patient target of 4,800 at just at 2,773, and say the premises are “hidden” and not visible from the road.

Robert Smith, chairman of Fens Residents’ Association, said he has been inundated with concerned residents since the news broke.

He said: “Most had transferred from other practices they had been with for a lifetime, and they regard the provision of a practice at the Fens shops as a godsend.

“We are also aware that as services reduce at Hartlepool hospital we are supposed to be compensated by care being moved into the community and made more accessible.

“These proposals are just another blow to Hartlepool.

“The NHS has savaged Hartlepool enough, it’s time for everyone to stand up and fight and say no more.”

The association says it is working with ward councillors to demand the practice stays where it is. It also stresses the medical needs of the area are set to grow with the proposed major South West Extension.

Mr Smith added: “The NHS don’t seem to have taken into account the impact of the proposed 1,260 homes and the new houses for Brierton School field.

“If a practice is shut down it could have dire consequences for nearby pharmacies.

“In the case of the Fens practice the NHS claim that the premises are not accessible and not visible from the front street. We find this very strange as the premises were the choice of the NHS itself.

“Adding signage for the practice would be a simple task.

“The original target patient numbers for all three practices were set ridiculously high, either deliberately or by the ‘think of a number and double it’ method. I suspect the former.”

A decision is due to be made by commissioners in October.