Littlehampton’s GP Surgeries are in crisis.
Sadly and to the determinant of 7,000 plus patients, one of Littlehampton’s largest GP Surgeries, Arun Medical Group have closed their doors.
Speaking to the Littlehampton Gazette Sister Rachel Priest and DR Oliver Middleton from the surgery said: “It was with deepest regret, sadness and frustration that we had to give notice to NHS England and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and close the surgery on October 31 2016.”
They went onto explain how they’ve failed to recruit any doctors in the past two years and believe they couldn’t continue to offer a ‘safe service’ to their patients.
The Coastal West Sussex Clinical Group has decided not to find an immediate replacement for the group but instead decided to split the 7,000 patients between nearby surgeries.
My own doctors at the Fitzalen Medical Group who have two surgeries in Littlehampton announced previously that they regrettably not taking on any new patients as to do would mean that they couldn’t continue to offer a safe service.
They’ve recently published a statement on their website entitled “General Practice in Crisis: A statement from GP Practices in Littlehampton, Rustington and East Preston”, which makes for an interesting, if depressing read.
Citing lack of investment in GP practices in the UK by the NHS along with difficulties in recruiting doctors to work in General Practice. Apparently many doctors are leaving the UK in favour of working in the USA and Australia.
Given the ongoing bitter dispute between junior doctors and the government, it’s easy to see why.
Arun District Council
Meanwhile Arun District Council continue to forge ahead in granting developers planning permissions to build more new homes in Littlehampton and granting permissions for buy-to-let investors to turn family homes, former public houses and commercial buildings into bedsits and HMOs, which add significant numbers to our already oversubscribed GP patient lists.
Across the road and around the corner from the Fitzalen Medical Group’s Littlehampton surgery, luxury retirement homes builder – McCarty & Stone were granted permission by Arun District Council to demolish a number of family homes and build not one, but two large luxury retirement complexes whose residents, by their very nature will require considerable and ongoing support from General Practices.
Meanwhile the health authorities not only closed Littlehampton’s hospital, but knocked it to the ground where an overgrown boarded-up site now sits. They indicate that they’ve no plans to rebuild the hospital anytime soon.
Ironically the site of the former hospital is overlooked by the residents of the McCarty & Stone luxury retirement development.
Prior to the closure of the Arun Medical Practice, the GPs met with Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb asking for his assistance. They say all he could offer was to write to the Health Secretary on their behalf.
To-date they haven’t heard from either Nick Gibb MP or the Health Secretary.
Not good enough, in my view.
Meanwhile getting an appointment of any of Littlehampton’s GP surgeries may result in a lengthy delay, that’s if you’re lucky enough to be on a GP’s list. I very much doubt the new home builders or the local estate agents will be making this fact known to those intending to move to Littehampton.
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