Three out of five GP surgeries which have merged in a bid to improve patient care in Hastings are cutting their opening hours.
The changes could affect more than 10,000 patients in Hastings.
GPs from The Plaza Surgery and Cornwallis Surgery – both based at Station Plaza Health Centre – Little Ridge Surgery, Essenden Road Surgery and Shankill Surgery have joined forces under the health care provider IMH, in a bid to ‘deliver sustainable’ services.
But the provider has admitted Essenden Road which has 3,900 registered patients is closing on Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoons, and Shankill, which has 3,700 patients, is closing on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Little Ridge Surgery – which has 4,378 patients on its books will be closing on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
Patients will be expected to travel to one of the other surgeries in the group if they need to be seen urgently by a GP.
The changes to the surgery opening hours were confirmed by Alison Carter, IMH area manager for the south coast.
Dr David Jones, who joined Cornwallis Surgery in August 2015 after the surgery’s temporary closure, said services will still be provided by all of the surgeries but encourage patients to get in touch with any concerns.
“We recognise that our surgeries play a key role in the local community and combining our clinical expertise and resources sites means that local services for our patients are protected for the future,” he said.
“We want to work with our patients and other local health services to help shape the services we provide, so they are as good and effective as possible.
“We are continuing to provide services across the five surgeries and home visits to any patients who need them, as appropriate.”
Dr Jones said he hoped the merger will ‘offer a greater ranges of services to patients in the longer term’.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said there is a ‘lack of sufficient resourcing for general practice’ and rapidly growing demand, brought about the by the ageing population in the UK.
There are also more patients being treated for long-term and complex conditions.
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