A disabled woman who is protesting the closure of her GP practice in Littlehampton said she is ‘so scared’ for the 7,500 people affected.
Arun Medical Group, with a surgery at East Street, Littlehampton, gave notice on June 30 to the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to end its contract to provide GP services.
The East Street Surgery will close on October 31 – but Kimberley Rollason is hoping that by organising protests she can reverse this.
She plans to hold them in the next few weeks to raise awareness about why having a GP is so important.
She said: “We don’t blame the GPs. We’re absolutely mortified that we are losing all the staff, and we know they were trying their hardest to get more GPs in.
“I am so scared to be honest and concerned, especially for those of us with long-term health problems.”
Kimberley, of White Acre, Wick, suffers from chronic abdominal and back pain and hypermobility and fibromyalgia, which affect her joints and muscles.
She said she has built up a good relationship with her GP, Dr Oliver Middleton, and felt they were making progress with her treatment until the closure was announced. She added: “With a GP you have that safety. You want someone you can trust who knows you without looking at your notes. With me, I’ve got ten years of notes to catch up on.”
Arun Medical Group issued a statement signed by Dr Jill Adams, Sr Rachel Priest and Dr Middleton which said that ‘the partners and staff at Arun Medical Group are extremely sorry that we have no option other than to close the practice’ and that it ‘is not a decision that was easy to make and we truly wish we could have found a way to remain open’.
The problem, they added, ‘is solely that we do not have enough doctors to safely continue to offer you the excellent care you have been used to’.
They said they had been trying to recruit GPs for two years ‘without success’.
The statement said the staff ‘will continue to provide care for all our registered patients until we close’ but that they would ‘obviously need to register with one of the other practices in the locality for your ongoing care’.