A GP surgery in Portsmouth is to close.
Queens Road Surgery is to shut by June 30 but health officials say it is not yet known when the last appointments and clinics will be held.
NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, which jointly plans and pays for primary care services for the city, has written to all the surgery’s 5,500 patients to inform them of the decision.
It says Queens Road has struggled to recruit new GPs and not been able to merge with another practice. ‘One of the GPs will be working outside of the city in future, and it is not possible for the remaining GP to continue on his own. The practice has therefore become unsustainable’ said a spokesman
The CCG has pledged that patients will be provided with the care they need up until that date, or until they register at another practice if this is earlier.
It has urged patients to register at other practices in the city but says they might not all get their first preference.
Patients are being advised to register with a practice of their choosing and that the two nearest practices geographically to Queens Road are the Hanway Group Practice, and Kingston Crescent Surgery (part of the Portsdown Group Practice).
Katie Hovenden, the CCG’s Director of Primary Care, said: ‘The practice has taken the difficult decision to close. We have explored several options to try to keep it open, including merging it with another practice or finding another practice or organisation to come in and take over the running of the surgery.
‘Unfortunately, we have been unable to find an alternative practical solution. Obviously this is far from ideal for the patients, and we do acknowledge the inconvenience and potential concern that this may cause.
‘The important thing is that patients now take steps to register at a new practice, to allow good time for the transfer of their notes and medical records. We have sent every patient details of all the practices in the city with our letter.
‘Practices shouldn’t normally refuse to register a patient unless there are valid reasons (for example you live outside their practice boundary), but in this instance some practices may not have the capacity to safely take on large numbers of new patients. For this reason patients may not get their first choice of practice’
Any Queens Road patient who hasn’t registered at a new practice by July 1 will automatically be allocated to another practice in Portsmouth, but this won’t necessarily be one of their choice – although Ms Hovenden said everyone will be re-registered with a new practice.
Ms Hovenden added: ‘The best way that Queens Road patients can influence which surgery they move to will be to take steps to register with a practice of their preference sooner rather than later.’
To register elsewhere, patients will need to go to the practice in person – although some practices do offer the ability to register online.
Ms Hovenden said: ‘We would ask patients to spare a thought for the staff for whom this is also an extremely unsettling period. We hope that there may be opportunities for some of them, especially as other practices will be registering a significant number of additional patients.’