Thousands still need a new GP as surgery closes

Around 3,000 patients from the Arun Medical Group East Street surgery are yet to re-register with another GP practice
Around 3,000 patients from the Arun Medical Group East Street surgery are yet to re-register with another GP practice

Thousands are yet to re-register with a new GP days before the closure of a major practice, a healthcare boss has confirmed.

But many patients have said that re-registering is difficult because of unclear catchment areas.

David Whitehead, clinical director at NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said 3,000 patients from Arun Medical Group’s East Street Surgery in Littlehampton had still not registered with another practice.

The surgery will close on October 31, with services being wound up in the coming days.

Patients who have not re-registered by this date will be allocated to a local surgery, Mr Whitehead said.

He added: “It’s obviously sad when any GP practice decides to give notice.

“Arun Medical Group had a large patient list of around 7,200 patients and at this point in time there are still approximately 3,000 patients who still haven’t registered with one of the other practices within Arun.

“We have written again to the 3,000 patients reminding them to register with another GP practice. There is one practice in Arun, The Lawns, who have had to close their list but the other five practices in Arun are open and taking on patients.”

Some patients took to Facebook to express their concerns. Laure Francis said she had re-registered ‘but wasn’t given a choice like stated’. Taome Gardner, who lives on the Kingley Gate housing development, echoed her neighbours who said they did not know what catchment area they lived in.

Lea Cunningham, 50, lives in Littlehampton’s town centre and has been a patient at Arun Medical Group for her entire life. She was turned away from four practices nearby for not being in the right catchment area before registering at The Lawns in Glenville Road, Rustington, which is further away.

She said that because she has mobility issues and does not drive she will find it hard to get to appointments, and said the letters ‘were very unclear’ about what surgeries she could register with.

“My main concern is for the elderly people who have no family around and who won’t understand the letters. I bet they are scared stiff.”

Arun District Councillor Mike Northeast, who had to re-register his mother, agreed and added that the commissioning group also needed to act faster in building a new surgery at the Enterprise Hub in Wick.

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