GP provision found for 8,400 patients of closing Guildhall Walk surgery in Portsmouth
GP PROVISION for all 8,400 city residents affected by the imminent closure of a surgery has been found, amid concerns for some of Portsmouth's most 'vulnerable' people.
A number of existing surgeries have now offered spaces to patients of the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, in the city centre, following the announcement that it would close in September.
At a recent health overview and scrutiny panel it was revealed the University of Portsmouth surgery can take on 6,000 of these patients when it moves to its new premises in Commercial Road.
And Portsdown Group Practice has offered to take on 2,000, the Lighthouse Group Practice up to 1,000 and the John Pounds Centre confirmed it could take 2,000.
Speaking to the panel Jo York, the deputy chief of health at Portsmouth NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said they would work with patients during the transition.
‘We have existing capacity in the city,’ she said.
As previously reported, the CCG decided to shut Guildhall Walk in line with the end of the provider’s contract. Issues around the condition of the building and the price of rent were also cited as a reason.
However, Councillor Cal Corkery - who represents the ward where the surgery is located - said: ‘The facilities are in the most deprived ward in the city. With that deprivation comes a need to access health services.
‘I don’t think conversation has taken place in a meaningful way. We were informed the decision could be made. At that point there had been no conversation whatsoever about what the impact of this was going to be and the alternatives.’
He asked why a nearby unit on the ground floor of Chaucer House - which is currently advertising space for a GP practice - could not be used as an alternative.
Ms York said: ‘We have looked at Chaucer, it is a bit of an empty shell of a building and would require full refurbishment - we don't have that capital.’
She added: ‘Because of procurement rules we were no in a position to extend that contract further, we would have to go out to re-procure that service.
‘The building is in poor condition, that has become even more problematic over the years. There are issues with the landlord. A new landlord has taken over we have had various discussions with him. Either we stay and it is considerably more expensive or we need to find an alternative premises.’
She explained that 100 homeless patients registered at Guildhall Walk would continue to receive healthcare, either through outreach support or at a new surgery.
Panel members agreed to write to the CCG to ensure they are involved before similar future decisions are made and to make sure patients are kept up to date with the plans.
Guildhall Walk patients are advised to wait to hear from the CCG about their new surgery.