TWO GP surgeries in the county seem set to shut because they don’t have the doctors to work in them.
Both surgeries are branches of Kington Medical Practice (KMP).
Talks between NHS England, the Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and KMP have been ongoing over recent weeks around issues raised about access to the branches and the challenges in recruiting doctors for them.
Sue Price, Director of Commissioning (Arden, Herefordshire & Worcestershire) at NHS England, said that, as a result of these discussions,
KMP had taken the “difficult decision” that it is no longer possible to maintain both branch surgeries.
Patients will transfer to KMP and may have access to free transport to and from the surgery – an initiative currently under negotiation.
KMP is also looking at technology to save patients from travelling when a physical examination isn’t required.
The closure proposal now enters a three-month consultation phase. In the interim, patients with appointments booked at the Eardisley or Pembridge surgery, they should continue to attend these.
KMP won’t be among the “hubs” for the county’s seven day-a-week GP service.
The hubs can also be accessed by Skype and video link.
Relevant contracts with NHS England are signed off and the recruitment of a number of new GPs to support the project is underway.
In April, the Hereford Times reported Hereford based Taurus Healthcare had secured £2.7 million to be spent over 12 months on a pilot scheme of 17 new projects – including seven day 8am to 8pm GP access.
The projects are intended to improve existing patient services while easing waiting times.
All projects are subject to a 12-month evaluation by the CCG.