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Health commission set up for patients as multiple practices close

1 December 2016

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A health commission is being set up to help thousands of patients temporarily left without GP care as four practices in one area are forced to close.

West Lindsey District Council is leading the initiative to help patients in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire where Pottergate, Arboretum, Burton Road, and Metheringham practices are being shut down.

The provider Universal Health Limited, which went into liquidation in the summer, has revealed it will close the surgeries, it will officially shut-down on 7 January 2017.

The four practices, with a combined patient list of 10,700, are being closed due to GP recruitment problems, Universal Health has said.

Retired GP Graham Warnes said: “It’s a disaster, the remaining two surgeries in the town won’t be able to cope with the extra demand. We already have a critical situation.”

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust had managed the surgeries on a temporary basis since the summer.

NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group has claimed that all affected Gainsborough patients will have an alternative option within a quarter of a mile of their current surgery.

“We completely understand this is regrettable and that some patients will feel concerned about change but we are committed to ensuring patients continue to access good quality, local, GP-led health services,” Sarah-Jane Mills, director for service development and delivery at Lincolnshire West CCG said.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) will continue in its caretaker management role at the four practices until January.

Meanwhile, letters have been sent to patients to offer them reassurances and invite them to a number of drop-in events close to their respective practice.