Two GP surgeries in Littlehampton are launching a joint bid to run a new branch in the town.
The group in charge of organising healthcare in the area announced the bid after Littlehampton Town councillor Derrick Chester submitted a freedom of information request to them.
NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said the bid is to start a surgery at the Enterprise Hub site next to the Morrisons supermarket in Wick.
It said: “The CCG has agreed to take forward a business case for the development of a new health facility on this site. Two Littlehampton practices are putting in a joint bid to use the Morrisons site as a branch surgery. As the business case is still being finalised, there is no target opening date at present.”
The site was originally intended to rehouse Arun Medical Group’s surgery in East Street before it announced it would be closing in October.
Last month it was decided that the surgery’s 7,000 patients would have to re-register with nearby practices.
In response to the Enterprise Hub bid, Littlehampton Town councillor James Walsh, himself a former GP, criticised local health bosses for having ‘produced absolutely nothing in three years towards the promised new medical centre at the Morrisons site’, which he said ‘is at the root of the current crisis and impending closures’.
Town councillor Mike Northeast said he has spoken to Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, about what is being done at a national level to solve Arun’s GP shortage.
He said: “He knew about the two surgeries that were setting up the bid and was in agreement with me that it shouldn’t take months to set up a business plan.”
Tim Kimber, GP at The Park Surgery in Littlehampton, said the local GP shortage was because it is a ‘profession that is being strangled by central government in terms of funding and conditions of work, and fatigued by years of media “GP-bashing”, such that young doctors do not want to enter the profession’.
He added: “This is a national problem, not just an Arun one, and the answers lie at a national level.”
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