Gosport patients banned from changing GP practices for three months

PATIENTS in Gosport have been told that they cannot switch to a different GP practice until April next year, as the NHS looks to ‘stabilise’ practices in the town.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 1:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 3:31 pm
Waterside Medical Centre in Mumby Road, Gosport. Picture: Malcolm Wells

According to the Fareham and Gosport CCG, more than 2,100 patients have transferred practices, putting a strain on certain places.

Two of the eight practices in the town have already had to close their registration lists, as they struggle to cope with the increasing numbers.

Some residents believe that many of the transfers have been away from the Willow Group – a network of GP surgeries in the town that has caused problems for patients in the past, from dodgy phone lines to being unable to get an appointment.

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Patient Hannah Barnard, 30, from Gosport, said: ‘I was lucky I got out when I did.

‘Surely the mass exodus and the other surgeries struggling to cope, is just a sign of how truly terrible the Willow Group is? I'd say it should serve as a wake-up call.

‘I feel terribly sorry for those desperate to leave the Willow Group for better care, the care they deserve.

‘At the end of the day the NHS isn't free, we all pay into it through national insurance and taxes – I believe patients have the right to choose their care provider.

‘The other surgeries are buckling under the strain of the influx of new patients and it'll soon be them struggling to provide quality care too.

‘The source needs to be acknowledged. The Willow Group is failing.’

Kylie Chatfield, 34, said: ‘My gut feeling is that this is something to do with the Willow Group.

‘This is a service that has caused problems for patients since day one.

‘I do wonder if there’s something a bit bigger behind this – it’s a lot of people to be moving between surgeries. It doesn’t seem quite right.

'I’m staying with the Willow Group myself, mainly because I like the doctors there.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage says she has been urging people in the town to change GPs.

She explained: ‘I’m not surprised my constituents have been changing their GPs in recent months – indeed, I have been encouraging them to do so.

‘Primary care in Gosport has been extremely concerning, which is why I met with Dr David Chilvers from the Willow Group and Sara Tiller from the CCG a few months ago.’

CCG spokesperson Dr Andrew Holden says that Gosport GP practices are working closely together to reach a solution.

He said: ‘We are not taking the decision lightly to support temporarily suspending a patient’s ability to move to another GP practice.

‘But the current situation poses considerable risks.

‘If more practices suspend patient registrations, then people moving into the area may not be able to find a doctor at all, which is unacceptable.

‘We are also very mindful of practices’ concern that they could have a list size that is unsafe to manage.

‘This temporary suspension will give the practices some time, in a planned and co-ordinated way, to catch up with the influx of patient registrations received to date.

‘All Gosport practices are working closely together for the good of their patients, and trying to offer the best services they can, and ensuring that patients can see an appropriate health professional when they need to.’

People moving into Gosport will still be able to register with a surgery, and patients who experience a breakdown in relationship with their existing GP practice will also continue to be allowed to move.