4,000 patients affected by GP practice closure

Hundreds of patients will be left without a GP tomorrow when their practice shuts down.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 29th September 2017, 5:22 pm
Gorton Street Practice, based in this building, will close tomorrow, the CCG said

Gorton Street Practice in Blackpool is to close after its only doctor – Dr Stephen Clarke – took a job elsewhere, with bosses unable to find a replacement.

Just under 4,000 patients were told by letter to find a new doctor in July, and around 1,300 have yet to do so, said the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for organising residents’ healthcare.

The town’s chief clinical officer, Dr Amanda Doyle, said: “Recruitment of GPs is not just a challenge for Blackpool. Lots of areas across the country struggle to find and recruit new GPs.

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“However, efforts are being made to overcome this. These include working with local partner organisations to promote Blackpool and the wider Fylde coast as an attractive destination to work and live for newly qualified doctors.”

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Staff at Gorton Street Practice have secured jobs elsewhere, with a CCG spokesman saying none face unemployment because of the closure.

Other services running from the building, including Sure Start, will remain open, he added.

The nearest practice to Gorton Street is Elizabeth Street Surgery just over 300 feet away. It is currently accepting patients, with those affected being urged to re-register as quickly as possible if they have not already done so.

Other nearby practices include Adelaide Street Surgery, South King Street Surgery, St Paul’s Medical Centre, Marton Medical Centre, Glenroyd Medical Centre, and Layton Medical Centre, almost a mile away.

They are all taking new patients.

The contract between Gorton Street Practice and the CCG will officially end on Saturday, at the end of the month.

Blackpool continued to have fewer GPs than elsewhere in the country, The Gazette revealed in January this year.

The town had 45.2 GPs for every 100,000 patients, down from 46 in 2015, official figures showed. The national average was 51.2.

In Fylde and Wyre there were 48.7, up from 46.3.

Last year, it was revealed trainee doctors were to be offered a £20,000 incentive in a bid to persuade them to move to Blackpool.

The town was among the seven areas in the country struggling to fill GP vacancies, with poverty in the resort partly blamed for the difficulty in attracting medics.