A GP recruitment ‘crisis’ has forced two medical practices to merge in a bid to prevent 6,000 patients reregistering with other surgeries.
Dr Hamid – the remaining GP at Heene Road Practice – will join the team of twelve doctors and 16 nurses at Worthing Medical Group (WMG), based in Shelley Road, Worthing.
Dr Hussain and Dr Das retired from the practice last year – but no replacements have been found, resulting in long waiting times and patients having difficulty getting appointments.
A letter sent to Heene Road Practice patients said: “There is a national GP recruitment crisis and Worthing alone had 11 GP vacancies.
“As a result of this intense pressure, Dr Hamid had to close the practice to new patients and in order to keep the practice open and continue providing a safe, high-quality service, he asked his neighbouring practice, WMG to help.”
While both practices will be remaining open, all urgent services will be run from WMG and all non-urgent services – such as minor surgery, family planning, asthma, diabetes or injections – will be run from Heene Road Surgery.
Sue Parton, manager of the surgery, said: “We are very keen to make sure our health economy is protected.
“If a practice closes all patients would have had to reregister. That would have put huge pressure on us. We feel we have protected our own [practices] and others.”
Mrs Parton said staff at both practices have been retained and an advanced nurse practitioner was being recruited.
As a result of the changes, Mrs Parton said there will be a big increase in the number of times telephone advice is offered, leaving more time for patients who want face-to-face appointments.
Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, which is made up of 52 GP practices, is responsible for planning and buying the health services.
Sarah Henley, interim head of primary care development at NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG said GP practices are working hard to share staff and premises to under ‘significant pressure’.
“We are really supportive of Worthing Medical Group and Heene Road Surgery and excited by the opportunities that the merger will create for local patients,” she said.
A spokeswoman for NHS England (South) said having reviewed the plans, the organisation supports the plans for the two practices to come together to ‘share clinical experience and resources for the benefit of their patients’.
To find out more visit www.worthingmedicalgroup.com