Portsmouth council vows to seek new ways to keep GP surgeries open in city
THE city council will look at new ways to protect existing doctor's practices and attract young GPs amid fears two surgeries will soon close.
Councillors of all parties voiced concerns about the future of GP provision in Portsmouth during a full council meeting on Tuesday, as a petition against the closure of the Hanway Medical Practice was presented.
If the practice closes due to the retirement of GPs, it is likely its two surgeries in Hanway Road and Stubbington Avenue will merge with existing sites under the Portsdown Medical Group.
Owner of Portsmouth-based Laly's Pharmacy, Baldev Laly, attended on behalf of the 1,300 patients who signed the petition.
Mr Laly said: 'We have no objection to a merger, we have no objection to the Portsdown Group as a highly successful health care provider in the city - it's the closure of doctors’ surgeries without so much as a trial period to asses sustainability.'
The council's health and wellbeing cabinet member, Councillor Matthew Winnington, said a meeting would be set up between the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the GPs at Hanway and the council.
He added: 'The city council property team will work with GPs and the CCG to see if the city council can help preserve health provision in areas of the city.
'The first test of this will be establishing the right property ownership model at the John Pounds Centre Surgery in Portsea to ensure the continued provision of community health services from this location and we are testing our how a joint approach with the CCG and a more direct relationship between practices and the council will work.'
Labour councillor Judith Smyth believed alternatives should be considered. 'We should look to Gosport's Willow Group which is run by the health trust and for many young GPs that is the model of the future,' she said.
'They don't want to spend their time looking at receptionists' contracts, at maintaining the drains. They want to be doctors in a hospital trust structure. Frankly this will give them better careers.'
Councillors were unanimous in their support for the petition.