GP surgery closes doors to new patients

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Patients looking to register with a GP at a Fylde coast surgery will be turned away until the end of the year.

Ansdell Medical Centre, in Albany Road, has been given permission by NHS England to ‘close its list’ until December due to a shortage of GPs.

Those already registered there will not be affected, and there are several alternative practices within a reasonable distance, however.

The practice said the measures has been taken to keep standards high, with patients informed by letter and verbally when they attend appointments, it is understood.

“Please note we are unable to take on any new patients at this time due to a shortage of GP partners”, the medical centre, which includes St Annes and Lytham in its catchment area, said on its website.

In a message to patients, practice manager Yvonne McKean added: “We know that booking an appointment is difficult at times and we are doing everything we can to solve the issue for the benefit of you, our patient.

“We are short of a GP in practice and have advertised over a period of many months for a suitable GP to join our team and we received no applications.

“Unfortunately, this is a nationwide issue that many practices are facing.

“We are taking the situation very seriously and are actively recruiting more clinical staff to help alleviate the problems we are having.”

Last year, the Royal College of General Practitioners warned patients nationally could be ‘at risk’ unless a ‘chronic shortage’ of GPs is turned around.

It said 75 per cent of doctors are over 55 and nearing retirement, which it said could lead to a shortfall of 10,000 doctors by 2020.

“It is imperative that we recruit huge numbers of medical students and foundation doctors into general practice in order to keep the NHS on its feet,” chairman Dr Maureen Baker said at the time.

Trainee doctors were being offered golden hellos of £20,000 to solve Blackpool’s shortage of GPs last year, with 22 surgeries having vacancies for 15 doctors.